Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Understand What Your Actuary Said?

Actuarial skills and communication skills are not generally found together.  Our work is very technical and many actuaries have a hard time explaining it to non-technical audiences. In contrast, our clients enjoy working with us because when the project is done, they understand what we did and what the results show. We tailor our communication approach to the client’s needs.

Some clients want only minimal detail.  For those we have perfected the “one-pager” approach, where we show the key findings in a concise format that gets right to the bottom line. Other clients want our work to be described in narrative form. For those clients, we prepare reports that are easily read and understood. For the rare client that wants all the backup spreadsheets that support our work, we are happy to comply.

There are three primary steps to our approach:

  1. Communication before the work is started. We will first meet telephonically or in person with the client to get to know their unique situation, understand the available data, and then develop a plan of action that meets the client’s needs in terms of both the timing and form of deliverables. Leif Associates will then provide the client with a data request that will include all of the items we need to complete the project.
  2. Communication during the project. Once we have received the data and documents needed to do the work, we will review it for completeness and ask questions. It is essential that we have a thorough understanding of the program components and the data so that we don’t get off track and waste time or, worse yet, make inappropriate assumptions. Once we are confident we understand the program, we will begin our work. When we are near completion, we will generally request an interim phone call with the client to discuss our preliminary findings and resolve any outstanding issues.
  3. Communication when the work is complete.  We will not finalize our work until the client has reviewed a draft. If there are issues related to understandably, we will revise our work product to improve its clarity. We will present our final reports to the client, in person or by conference call, and answer any questions.

We believe we serve our clients best if we have a thorough understanding of their expectations and if our clients have a thorough understanding of how we performed our work and what it shows.

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