Have you done technical actuarial work?
Yes. Lots. I even did programming using APL. Some actuaries love the technical work. I wanted to advance in my career, which meant shifting from calculating figures to managing people. How can you get a promotion if there's no one to replace you? Making yourself redundant is scary but necessary.
I've worked extensively with the Actel Modelling System (then used by companies like Met Life and Tillinghast Towers Perrin) and AXIS (still the standard). Once I got staff, I guided them and reviewed their work. The prior hands-on experience helps in asking the right questions and developing a feel for the expected results.
Technical results are most valuable when expressed in ways that nonactuaries can also understand. For a multiyear litigation, I did many of the calculations using AXIS and then presented understandable summaries using Excel spreadsheets embedded into Word. The reports were printed in colour. In the 1990s, this was quite innovative.
I was heavily involved in arranging reinsurance treaties. This originally involved doing the calculations to determine profitability on the proposed terms and later negotiations as I became the primary contact for the reinsurers. Insurers typically split reinsurance among two or more companies. For years, National Life used one sole reinsurer to get better terms and faster underwriting decisions.
Projections / Illustrations
Complex products like universal life insurance require computer-based projections to show performance under different scenarios. My team was responsible for the accuracy of the numbers. This involved extensive testing using manual and automated processes.
When designing a product, it's important to know how your rates compare with other companies. Preparing the comparisons is time-consuming and the pages of results are difficult to decipher quickly. Using conditional formating (then new in Excel), I used colour coding. When cells were green, our rates beat the competition. These pages were soon called "green sheets". They helped attract insurers looking for private label products.
These days, I mainly use Excel. I do actuarial insurance reviews, which use actuarial principles.