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FSA北美精算师:以稀为贵造就“钻石领”(6)

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  ·SOA协会历史背景介绍

  In 1889 the total actuarial population on this continent numbered between 80 and 100 persons. Five of these-four company actuaries and one consulting actuary-having decided amongst themselves to create an organization, invited selected others to become charter members. The initial complement of the Actuarial Society of America was 38. Of the actuaries not so invited, those omitted because they were not chief actuaries of well-established companies were in most cases elected during the next five years. Invitations never were, however, extended to a group of about 25 actuaries, some of marked distinction within the profession, who had moved into general management posts or had retired from active work. This seems unfortunate, depriving the young Society of the ideas that those experienced heads would have contributed.

  The profession's heritage in North America, then of about 80 years duration, had been built upon European foundations dating back to the establishment of probability theory in the mid-seventeenth century, to Edmond Halley's 1693 mortality table, to James Dodson's pioneer work on the level premium system that led to formation of the Society for Equitable Assurances on Lives and Survivorship in London in 1762, and to Richard Price's textbook on life contingencies first published in 1771.1

  The first company actuary to practice in North America was Jacob Shoemaker of Philadelphia, a key organizer in 1809 of the Pennsylvania Company for Insurances on Lives and Granting Annuities who chose to be that company's actuary rather than its president. A pioneer of whom the profession may be proud, he was a student of the British experiences of the prior half-century and a practical businessman.

  Other life companies soon followed in the Pennsylvania Company's footsteps, notably, the Massachusetts Hospital Life in Boston, 1823 (Nathaniel Bowditch, actuary) and the New York Life and Trust Company, 1830 (William Bard, president and actuary). But volume of business was small until mutual life insurance on this continent was born in the 1840s, its progenitors being the Mutual Life of New York (Charles Gill, actuary) and the New England Mutual in Boston (Elizur Wright, actuary). Gill and Wright were actuaries of great distinction, the latter's fame coming through his establishment, while he was Massachusetts insurance commissioner, of abiding standards of life company solvency and of fairness to withdrawing policyholders. The earliest consulting actuary was John F. Entz, who practiced in New York City between 1840 and his death in 1872.

  Formation of an actuarial organization was seriously considered in 1867-Elizur Wright had suggested it in 1859, eleven years after the Institute of Actuaries had started in London-but that attempt foundered, apparently on the rocks of professional mistrust and secretiveness. Life insurance itself was going through difficult times; its reputation had suffered so deeply from company failures and extravagances that the public in the United States turned in large numbers to the lure of assessment insurance. In Canada, on the other hand, life insurance was in excellent repute; credit for this belongs in large measure to two actuaries: Hugh C. Baker, who founded the Canada Life in 1847, and John B. Cherriman, Canada's Superintendent of Insurance from 1875 to 1885.

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