Saturday, June 18, 2016

Actuaries, anybody?

So my niece graduated from college last month with a degree in actuarial science, and the graduation party is today. I was thinking about getting her a classic movie wwith an actuarial theme, before deciding that money (well, a gift card) would be a better idea.

Besides, I couldn't really think of any good movies that actually are about actuaries. There are quite a few movies about insurance. The Apartment is one, although I don't know that the movie really explains what Jack Lemmon's character is doing with that adding machine all day. Certainly Fred MacMurray is just a manager and we don't see him doing any of the real work. And of course Shirley MacLaine is only an elevator operator.

I think a bit more common would be insurance fraud, as we can see in Double Indemnity. There's certainly no actuarial work going on there; just Fred MacMurray selling a policy to Barbara Stanwyck, and then Edward G. Robinson investigating when it's time to cash in on that policy because he just knows there's something wrong.

There's a line at the end of The Killers about how the investigation work is ultimately going to save everybody a penny or two a month on their insurance rates, but that's not particularly actuarial work, I don't think.

And there has to be a Crime Does Not Pay short about insurance fraud, but actuaries themselves aren't exactly criminal. Just because you die when their math says you're supposed to doesn't mean they've killed you.

Any good movies about an actuary?

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