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Memo to the membership

Significant actions - B&ad of Governors meeting October 22, New York City 1. The Board endorsed the concepts of the recommendations in the final report of the Task Force on Strengthening the Actuarial
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Significant actions - B&ad of Governors meeting October 22, New York City 1. The Board endorsed the concepts of the recommendations in the final report of the Task Force on Strengthening the Actuarial Profession. Details regarding these recommendations will be communicated to e memberships of the Society and e other North American actuarial ab organizations. In summary, the recommendations call for: l Definition and clarification of the responsibilities of the different organizations. l Reorganization of the American Academy of Actuaries. l Profession-wide standards and disciplinary structures. l Improving member awareness of public interface issues. 2. The proposed constitutional amendment regarding credit for college and university courses failed for lack of a two-thirds majority but did gain the support of 59% of those voting. In light of this vote, the Board directed that the experiment in college credit be canceled and encouraged the Education Policy Committee to consider other ways to improve the Society s education procedures. 3. The proposed constitutional amendment regarding the Secretary and Treasurer positions passed with e approval of 93% of those voting. e Board adopted conforming d anges to the Society s By-Laws. 4. The Board adopted policy statements and implementation guidelines for the Society s continuing education activities. Contfnued on page 2 column 3 Memo to the membership 0: All Members of the Society of Actuaries Question: Are we listening7 In the SOA Secretary s report on this page. you will read that the Board, in light of the recent vote of the members. canceled the experiment on college credit and asked the Education Policy Committee to consider other ways of improving the Society s education procedures. While this motion conveys the formal action taken, as is so often the case. it does not fully communicate the informal discussion and conceptual thinking of the Board. I would like to give you that additional background and then talk about the more general issue of communication between the Board and individual SOA members. The Board believes that alternative approaches to education will be important for the profession in the future. We thought the experiment we had constructed made sense, but it is clear from the vote that many of you are uncomfortable with it. Recognizing those views, the Board took the action described above. We hope you feel this action responds to the message that was sent. The broader question is how individual Societv members can nrovide input to Board members so &at In this issue: Slgniflcant actlons - Board of Governors meeting Anthony T. Spano 1 Memo to membership Allan D. Affleck 1 The viral advantage Halmstad Prize and AERF Practltloners Award announced - 6 Editorial: x and Heathrow Irwin T. Vanderhoof 7 membership views can be taken into account. Although we may not always do it well, it is fairly easy for the Board to communicate its plans to members. The process for communication to occur in the other direction seems to be, however, less developed. The Board wants to respond to your ideas and views. and we want to keep you informed about the issues and directions we believe are important for the Society of Actuaries to pursue. Let me offer a few surgestions for how you can make your views known. 1. Talk to a Board member, Committee chairperson, or Section chairperson directly These people are listed in the Yearbook and would welcome telephone calls or letters from you about current issues. 2. Provide feedback through your local club when the Society s President visits. During the coming year I will be talking to many local clubs, and this is an easy way to let me hear what is on your mind. What do you think the priorities for the profession shouid be? Personally, I would find these meetings more valuable if they were less focused around what the Presi- Continued on page 2 column 1 Annual report from the SOA Treasurer Michael J. Cowell 8 Actuary breaks record - and the bank - on Jeopardy Diana Montgomery 9 Need for reduced paid-up nonforfeiture values In long-term-care insurance policies Gordon R. Trapnell 10 Letters to Editor 14 Actucrossword. Actucrostic - 15,16 The Actuary-- December 1989 The Newsletter of the Society of Actuaries VOLUME 23, NO. 11 DECEMBER 1989 Editor responsible for this issue Irwin T. Vanderhoof Editor Linda B. Emory. F.S.A. A~sociate Editors Mary Hardiman Adams, A.S.A. Daniel E Case, ES.A. Robin B. Leckie, ES.A. R. Stephen Radcliffe, ES.A. Irwin T. Vanderhoof, ES.A. Competition Editor Charles G. GroescheU, ES.A. Features Editor Deborah Adler Poppel, F.S.A. Assistant Editors Stepl=en H. Frankel, F.S.A. Cha~rles Habeck, ES.A, Curtis E. Huntington, ES.A. David S. Lee, ES,A. Society Staff Contacts (708) Diana Montgomery Staff Editor Judith Bludet Assistant Staff Editor Linda M. Delgadillo Director of Communications Correspondence should be addressed The Actuary EO. Box Atlanta, GA Copyright~, 1989, Society of Actuaries Tile Actuary is published monthly (except July and August) by the SOCIETY OF ACTUARIES, 475 North Martingale Road, Suite 800, Schaumburg, IL Allan D. Affleck, President; Anthony T. S]?ano, Secretary; Michael J. Cowell, Treasurer; Kenneth A. McFarquhar, Director of Publications, Non-member subscriptions: students. $5.50: others, $6.50. Send subscriptions to; Society of Actuaries, EO. Box 95608, Chicago, IL The Society is not respurrsible for statements made or opinions expressed herein. All contributions are subject to editing. Submissions must be signed. Memo cont'd dent wants to discuss and more focused on what the members feel is important to them. To help me do that, would you fill out the postcard included with this issue of The Actuary? Please indicate which issues you would like to hear about, and I will try to incorporate as many of these as I can into my talks at the local clubs. 3, Write a letter to The Actuary. We have always had a good supply of letters to the Editor, and some of our members don't hesitate to express themselves strongly on important issues. Perhaps one missing element has been feedback to these letters. Under our current approach, a letter is published and that is the end of it. During the coming year, if you have questions or want to express an opinion, I would be happy to respond so all our members can read how the Board feels about a particular issue. If you have a question about how the Board is dealing with a current issue, or want an explanation of something, or are wondering why we are not taking action somewhere, please address your letter to me in care of the Editor of Tile Actuary. A response will appear in the same issue with your letter. In many of my presentations I have stressed the need for actuaries and our actuarial organizations to take a stronger, more visible role in commenting on public issues where an actuarial viewpoint is missing. In a similar way, we need comments from you on issues being considered by the Board. Are there actions or nonactions that concern you? Are you comfortable with our priorities? Are you enthusiastic about the progress we have made in research? What about the money it takes? Are you comfortable with our election procedures? If you have ideas on these questions or any others, raise them with a Board member or ask when the President visits your club. We want the benefit of your thinking, and I solicit your comments, Sincerely, Allan D. Affleck President Society Office New Area Code 708 Board actlons cont'd 5. The Board authorized the Executive Committee to approve a draft of fundamental principles being developed by the Committee on Actuarial Principles. The draft will be exposed for comment to the memberships of both the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. 6. The Board authorized Society participation in 1990 in a public relations program designed to raise awareness of the actuarial profession. The program began this year in connection with the Centennial Celebration. 7. The Board adopted a resolution congratulating the Casualty Actuarial Society on the 75th anniversary of its founding and extending sincerest best wishes for its continued success. Anthony T. Spano Secretary Happy 75th, CAS! The Casualty Actuarial Society marked its 75th Anniversary November 7. The following congratulatory letter was sent from SOA President Allan D. Affleck to CAS President Kevin M. Ryan, along with an inscribed silver bowl, before the celebration. Dear Kevin: On behalf of the Board of Governors and the members of the Society of Actuaries, I extend congratulations to the Casualty Actuarial Society on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Because we are sister organizations, the Society of Actuaries feels strong ties and a sense of professional pride toward the Casualty Actuarial Society. This is true at an organizational level, but more important, is increasingly true as individual actuaries of our two societies work together on common professional issues. We congratulate the CAS on its professionalism, its education, and its research. We hope your Jubilee Meeting is a success, in both a professional and a social sense. As a small token of the esteem we hold for the CAS and its members, we are pleased to present you with this gift. Yours sincerely, Allan D. Affleck The Actuary-- December Scenes from the New York Annual Meeting VIDEO ENHANC~MENZ which projected a If, loot-high live TV image ot speakers onto a screen, enlivened the Annual Meeting general sessions, The technique was first used at the June Centennial meeting. OUTGOING SOA President lan M. Rolland, left, passes the gavel to Allan D. Affleck at the New York Annual Meeting in October. Aftleck is President for THE L RONALD 14II. 1,?~lemotnl] i'ttze was presented to Adam 1. Reese, right, lot his paper The Valuation of Retiree Medical Benefits. which appeared in the March 1989 issue o/the Pension Forum. Presenting the award is Howard Kane. THE SOA ANN(:/tl, f'i1/c [~l tilt' 1,~ ;'. i,,j[~'r published in Volume 40 ot l'ransaeuons 1,s presented to David N. Becker for his paper A Generalized Profits Released Model (for the Measurement of Return on Investment for Life Insurance. President lan Rolland presents him with a plaque and a check for $500. DAPftNI: I) t~at~tli:'tt ~ok oth~ c,l~ H(_)A l'tc,~t dent-elect at the New York Meeting. 4 The Actuary- December 1989 The viral advantage A crowded world ensures prosperous futures for disease-causing viruses (Ed. note: This article is reprinted with permission from Science News, the weekly newsmagazine of science, copyright 1989 by Science Service, Inc.) by Rick Weiss n 1983, a poultry virus hit the n jackpot in Pennsylvania. While making a copy of its genetic material, the virus made a tiny error. Because of that error, it began producing a slightly altered protein which allowed the normally benign organism to spread beyond its usual residence in chicken lungs and intestines. Soon it was burrowing into other parts of the birds bodies - including the nervous system, where it multiplied rapidly and began to cause disease. With its newly acquired virulence, this otherwise mild-mannered avian influenza virus went wild. And before the epidemic ended six months later, more than 17 million chickens were dead - all because of a minuscule molecular mutation. The ( 1983) chicken population in Pennsylvania is like the world as it is in this moment. says Robert G. Webster, a virologist and molecular biologist at St. Jude Children s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. What would we have done if this virus had occurred in humans? There are millions of us chickens Just waiting to be infected. Such apprehension is not new to virologists. Indeed. the human influenza virus periodically undergoes mutations similar to the one that popped up in Pennsylvania. In for example. a particularly virulent mutant strain of human influenza spread around the globe, killing an estimated 20 million People. More recently, the emergence in humans of a virus that probably once resided only in African monkeys caught the world off guard again, The AIDS virus has now infected 5 million to 10 million people in 149 countries, according to world Health Organization estimates. But despite all the attention drawn by this most recent plague. much more frightening things await us, many virologists fear. Scientists know of several viruses lurking in the tropics that - with a little help from nature - could wreak far more loss of life than will likely result from the AIDS epidemic. Some virologists worry that a simple mutation in the AIDS virus itself could leave it armed with an ability to infect people as the flu virus does now - via respiratory droplets spread by coughing or sneezing. If the changed virus retained its current lethality, scientists and public health officials would have little chance to contain the disease before immense numbers of individuals became fatally infected. Scenarios like these leave epidemiologists wondering whether modern science has made a serious enough commitment - or even has the means - to detect emerging viral threats before they reach their devastating potential. At a meeting in Washington, DC.. this past May, scientists discussed the long and continuing history of viral end runs around human defenses and suggested public health surveillance strategies that might provide some early warning before the next big viral outbreak. Scientists hope that proper planning, including the use of scattered tropical laboratories as sensitive listening posts to detect newly emerging viral diseases, will enable them to nip the next Big One in the bud - be it a new strain of flu or a completely novel virus with no known history in humans. Even with the best preparation, however, the battle against these everchanging biologic specks will remain a seat-of-the-pants test of wits, virologists say. There will be a few surprises. predicts Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg. molecular geneticist and president of Rockefeller University in New York City. Even our own fertile imagination can t match all the tricks nature can play To be sure, new viral diseases occasionally emerge after a natural mutation suddenly broadens a virus host range or virulence. But more frequently, says Rockefeller University microbiologist Stephen S. Morse, viral emergences can be traced to human nature. Most emerging viruses are not really new but represent existing diseases that acquire new significance. he says. And often that new significance is of our own making. For example, new viral epidemics have often followed human intrusion into previously inaccessible. virusinfested areas. and others will surely follow as highways infiltrate Earth s final frontiers. In return, viruses find their way into virgin human population centers - via insects. for instance, whose ranges gradually shift as global climate patterns change. Additionally, says Morse, modern medical technologies such as transfusion and transplantation have provided viruses new means of transport between human hosts. So have a variety of social and behavioral changes, ranging from globe-trotting among the rich and famous to needle sharing among drug addicts. Still, viruses themselves remain responsible for many new viral outbreaks. And in this regard. as in the Pennsylvania chicken epidemic, mutation generally provides the key to their success. -\ Their mutation frequency is enormous. says John J. Holland, a microbiologist at the University of California. San Diego. Holland says he and his colleagues were shocked when their latest experiments found that viral mutations occurred in about one of 10,000 replications - a value significantiy higher than the already impressive ones other researchers have documented. and a full four orders of magnitude greater than that typically seen in human cells. In particular, he notes, viruses that have RNA rather than DNA for genetic material make numerous errors during replication and appear to have none of the proofreading mechanisms that help DNA viruses eliminate such mistakes. In nature, such reproductive sloppiness amounts to a virtual guarantee that new and virulent infectious agents will appear with some degree of regularity and with little advance warning. Fortunately for us. only rarely do mutations confer a substantial viral advantage. But one can hardly over- -, estimate the significance of a single genetic blunder that provides, for example, a new viral coat capable of evading human immune cells. The implications of such genetic unpredictability seem at times over- Continued on page 5 column 1 The Actuary-December Vied advan tage con t ti whelming, virologists say. For exam- 6 le. as AIDS researchers well know. it s very difficult to develop an effective vaccine against a virus that keeps changing its molecular signature. But things could get worse. So far, the sexually transmitted AIDS virus, HIV is a rather poor country cousin in terms of the slowness of its propagation and the obviousness of behavioral readjustments that would check its spread, says William H. McNeill. a University of Chicago historian and author of Plagues & People (1977. Doubleday). What if an errorprone HIV hit the genetic jackpot by suddenly gaining the ability to directly infect human respiratory-tract cells and spread via something as simple as a cough? That scenario became the focus of a memorable exchange between two Nobel laureates at the Washington, D.C.. meeting. I think that we can very confidently say that this can t happen. said Howard M. Temin of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. If HIV underwent all the necessary changes owing it to infect through aerosol- * zed droplets. he asserted, then we might have a virus that could spread by a respiratory route. but it would no longer cause AIDS. So it would be worse in the sense that it might be more contagious. but it might just be another cold virus. I don t share your confidence about what can and cannot happen, Lederberg replied. Blood-borne HIV commonly infects macrophages. a kind of white blood cell often present in the lungs. he noted. Even a minor mutation might enable HIV to infect those cells directly via the respiratory tract. Temin shook his head. Anything may happen in the future. he conceded, but you don t have to stay up nights worrying about it. Replied Lederberg. somewhat ominously: I m glad I worry enough for both of us. Howard. While the risk of a radical HIV mutation may appear fanciful to some, there s no denying the significance of / sting viral menaces. Even if the rld s viral inventory remains stable. e searchers say. the tropics already harbor enough viral fire power to wipe out large segments of Earth s population. Indeed, despite the lack of U.S. front page coverage. recent history offers vivid examples of viral skirmishes in isolated areas that may foreshadow much broader outbreaks in the future. In the late 1960s. for example, dozens of scientists in West Germany fell seriously ill. and several died, from a mysterious new disease. Victims suffered from a breakdown of liver function and a bizarre combination of bleeding and blood clots, among other symptoms. Investigators traced the outbreak to a batch of fresh monkey cells the scientists had used to grow polio viruses while producing vaccines. The cells, from imported Ugandan monkeys, were infected with a lethal tropical virus never described before - now called the Marburg virus. In for reasons nobody fully understands. the virus causing Rift Valley fever moved from its usual hosts - sheep and cattle - into humans in South Africa. The virus, which causes severe weakness, incapacitating headache and damage to the retina, then made its way to Egypt, where millions became infected and thousands died. Among the most frightening viral outbreaks in recent years was that of the tropical Ebola virus in Zaire and Sudan in I976. The Marburg-like disease, which infected more than 1,000 people a
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