Pierogis and Palaces
Erich Brandt

Pierogis and Palaces

Erich Brandt January 09, 2018 Posted in: Blog Posts, General, ASOP / Professionalism

I’ve been known to frequent Europe on a regular basis and even have an app on my phone that tracks the places I’ve visited. I enjoy seeing the world’s major cities and indulging in the regional cuisine. A very popular Polish dish is the pierogi – a dumpling filled with a variety of vegetables or meat. You can even fill one with blueberries for dessert.

Last spring, my family and I found ourselves dining on pierogis with a fellow actuary in Warsaw.

Enter Kamil Jasinski, FCAS. Originally from the Warsaw area, Kamil went to Graduate School at Illinois State University for his Master’s degree in Actuarial Science and began working at Pinnacle, first as an intern then as an actuarial analyst. As time went on, he left the fields of Central Illinois for the West Coast. I saw him at a CAS meeting or two, then learned he had moved back to Poland.  

We explored the Wilanów Palace with his wife and children. The first signs of spring had just appeared, though it had snowed within the past week. While catching up, we talked about the actuarial profession. He offered up a few insights as to what it is to be an FCAS in Europe:

  • An FCAS in Europe is a rarity, especially east of Munich. “Gathered in one room, they’d make a medium-sized wedding party.”
  • Interactions between FCAS members are possible at two meetings per year that are organized by the CAS’s Regional Affiliate, the Casualty Actuaries in Europe (CAE).
  • European actuaries are involved in traditional pricing and ratemaking roles at insurance companies, but also in capital management (Solvency II modeling) and risk management.

Pinnacle has had a history of working internationally, especially in our Alternative Markets practice. Several of our clients are domiciled in captive strongholds such as Bermuda or Grand Cayman, and the regulators know us well because of our quality work and our presence on their islands over many years. As the world’s appetite for alternative risk financing increases, Pinnacle’s expansion will likely continue throughout both the established and emerging domiciles, including Europe.

I drew a couple of conclusions from my trip to Poland. First, it was great to see an old friend while traveling abroad and discussing a career we both enjoy. Second, I grew up in Central Illinois, and though I’ve not confirmed it, there may be more FCAS’s in the Bloomington-Normal area than on the entire European Continent. Last, living in Europe as a practicing FCAS could be an exciting opportunity. One could work during the day and dine on pierogis each night.


Erich Brandt is a Senior Consulting Actuary with Pinnacle Actuarial Resources, Inc. in the Bloomington, Illinois office. He has over 20 years of experience in assignments involving loss reserving, funding studies, cost allocation mechanisms, loss cost projections, competitive analysis, captive feasibility studies, personal lines ratemaking and financial analysis of insurance companies. Erich is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) and a member of the CAS Examination Committee.

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