You Have Such a February Face . . .
Erich Brandt

You Have Such a February Face . . .

Erich Brandt July 27, 2022 Posted in: Blog Posts, News

Above photo: Much Ado About Nothing – L to R Jessica Dean Turner as Beatrice and Brandon Burditt as Benedick. Photo by Peter Guither.

February is a special month for consulting actuaries in Illinois. The days are long and cold, and reconciling data received to Schedule P with immaterial differences generates a real sense of excitement – not quite the excitement of your team winning the Super Bowl in February, but excitement nonetheless.

Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February Face,
So full of Frost, of storm and cloudiness. 

Much Ado About Nothing – Act V; Scene IV

Although at times I may sport a “February Face” at work, once March begins and the State of Illinois thaws, I look forward to the Illinois Shakespeare Festival (ISF).

The ISF has been providing my community in central Illinois with live outdoor theater since 1978. The ISF has a well-earned reputation for outstanding productions with talented players. I was quite young at the time, but my recollection is that nationally known actor and Illinois State University (ISU) Alumnus Gary Cole (Talladega Nights, Office Space) was even an actor in one of ISF’s earlier seasons.

The first play I saw at ISF was A Comedy of Errors in 1988. The moment the play started, I was hooked. I’ve been attending ISF ever since. In fact, it gives me great pride to say that I am now on the Festival’s Board of Directors.

I take my responsibility and role with ISF very seriously. I promote the Festival whenever I can, in both social circles and professionally.

One of the core values at Pinnacle is Community Involvement. Our firm’s leadership and employees live that value by supporting causes of all kinds. I feel fortunate that Pinnacle added ISF to the organizations it supports by sponsoring a hole for the ISF John Stevens Memorial Golf outing. The proceeds from the golf outing and Pinnacle’s donation will go to sponsoring one or more professional Equity Actors each season.

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Once February’s chill is forgotten, and the ISF season begins in July, I very much look forward to the outstanding plays, actors and productions. Of course, I look forward to those pleasant, 80-degree Illinois evenings as well. I can’t wait to again be on the beautiful grounds of Ewing Manor – a part of ISU and a castle in the middle of Bloomington with exquisite, manicured gardens. This July, ISF will perform two plays at Ewing Manor: King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing.

“Nothing will come of nothing” 

King Lear – Act I; Scene I

Actuarially speaking, that quote from King Lear could relate to the credibility theory I studied for the old Casualty Actuarial Society’s Exam 4B. Theoretically, credibility in this context measures the predictive value of a group of data. Inaccurate or missing data may, in fact, be worth nothing in making actuarial projections. In those cases, we need to find alternative data sources or work with our clients to improve the data.

I enjoy intertwining my love of theater with my love of math and my career as an actuary, and I get immense satisfaction from my participation in the arts. I encourage the reader – no matter your career and day job – to seek out local (even better yet, outdoor local) theater this summer, whether it is Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy or high school students putting on their favorite musical. You may find that it complements your professional interests, just as it did mine.

Hopefully, your company, like mine, will be there to help support your passion.

In one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, Coriolanus reflects upon changing his personality to become popular with the citizens of Rome. For me, it’s a good reminder to pursue our authentic selves regardless of the other roles that we play in work or life:

“Why did you wish me milder?
Would you have me False to my nature?
Rather say I play the man I am.” 

 Coriolanus – Act III; Scene II.

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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