The actuary's expertise in the field of life insurance lies mainly in the application of mathematical and statistical techniques to the wide range of issues associated with life insurance business. In particular, the actuary has developed very sophisticated tools for modelling and forecasting and to help in establishing equity between policyholders. In recent years, owners of such businesses, be they policyholders or shareholders, have been coming to depend increasingly upon the actuary's skills to establish value for their overall business. On an ongoing basis, these requirements relate to such things as the need for more complete balance sheet presentation in the case of a proprietary company. Additionally, and inevitably, the actuary is drawn into the world of financial dealing in respect of takeovers and mergers where he is becoming exposed to the commercial risks inherent in being an ‘expert’. The stakes are increasing and in the larger cases hundreds and even thousands of millions of pounds are involved. In this world, the actuary can expect to be subject to a range of pressures from clients, media, takeover rules and so on, all of which are well removed from the actuary's traditional comfort zone. As the stakes increase, so does the threat of litigation.
The authors have recently been involved, one as principal and one as actuarial adviser, in the largest hostile takeover in the life insurance industry in the U.K. and, in the process, many issues of significance to the individual and the profession as a whole were exposed. This paper is intended to address this very important area and to flag some areas which could prove to be of increasing concern to the individual and to point to some where the Institute may wish to become involved.