MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we will feature a member of the Academy and share a glimpse into their professional and personal lives.

JOHN ROBINSON

Specialty: Health

WHY DID YOU BECOME AN ACTUARY?

While working on my master’s degree in statistics, I was looking for a career that would make me a decent living when I returned home to Jamaica. I had been aware of the actuarial profession for a number of years at that point but had not seriously considered it. I took Part 2 (Statistics) in Jacksonville, Fla., and—not surprisingly—got a 10. At the end of the school year, I returned home and got a job with R. Watson & Sons.​

DESCRIBE A CHALLENGE YOU HAVE OVERCOME.

My only serious ethical dilemma occurred several years ago, after I had earned my fellowship. My chief actuary shifted earnings from one year to the next by setting up reserves in advance of receiving the premiums, which is inconsistent with proper practice. When I challenged him, our relationship soured, and I left the company. My next job was a “promotion” to Appointed Actuary. The best part of the story is that I was able to ask for advice from a vice president actuary at my former employer—that taught me the value of networking.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT BEING AN ACTUARY?

As a life insurance regulator, I have the opportunity to influence the direction of life insurance reserving for all 50 states. It is a privilege to have such an amount of influence and to learn from other experts’ experiences and knowledge.

SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.

I have played the piano since age 7. I now have two synthesizers, and I have made two CDs of original compositions—I’m still working on the third. I grew up playing soccer, table tennis, and track. I love to travel, and I am hoping that my plans to attend the 2020 Paralympics in Japan will be fulfilled next year.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH YOUNG ACTUARIES?

If you are looking for a job, you need to learn about the business you want to be part of—you can’t just say, “I can do math.” If you are in your first job, make sure you leave things better than how you found them by improving the process. Finally, it’s never too early to start building your network.

SEE MORE

Meet: Susan Pantely
Meet: Susan Pantely

"Be curious and ask questions. Learn to understand the analysis and interpret the results, rather than focusing only on formulas and coding."

Meet: John Purple
Meet: John Purple

"...it didn’t take long for me to realize some of the benefits of volunteering, including learning and interacting with other actuaries."

Meet: Alan Putney
Meet: Alan Putney

"Get your credentials, learn to work with others, jump into new things, and challenge yourself. You will never grow without doing these things."

Meet: Susan Pantely
Meet: Susan Pantely

"Be curious and ask questions. Learn to understand the analysis and interpret the results, rather than focusing only on formulas and coding."

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