Death by conference

17 May

I was lucky enough to attend an actuarial conference recently, speaking on the health care profession in Asia Pacific.  I like the interaction with other professionals and have spoken at previous conferences.  It is good to keep up to date with the community and change up the daily schedule.  Only in a setting with other actuaries can I satisfy my need to talk about mortality tables, medical trend and the values of group insurance.

A three day conference is a bit like a marathon – you have to pace yourself.  I always bring a wrap, a bottle of water and lots of business cards.  Slowly I am recognizing more faces each time, making my place in the community.  The presentation mix is always a bit hit or miss and the stereotype that actuaries are not well known for communication skills sometimes does hold true.

At this conference in particular I had had remarkable luck with presentation quality until my last session on the first day.  The session was supposed to be about alternative models for health care cost prevention.  The topic is interesting and very relevant to my job, so no danger signs in advance.

The presenter’s English was a little shaky, but after nearly 5 years in Asia that doesn’t bother me much.  He then started with a disclaimer, but again – OK, sometimes I do that.  Things then got weird.  The presentation was a strange mixture of disturbing photos with methods and conditions to improve health ranging from: breastfeeding to the removal of tapeworms, enemas to food rotation diet strategies and finished with a discussion of meridian points and a demonstration of the key acupressure points in your hand.

I have no idea how this individual thought this topic fit with an actuarial conference and I strongly doubt that he was actually an actuary.  People streamed out as he was speaking, but I stayed until the end, trying to keep from laughing the entire time.

Death by conference – little did I realize that it would be because I laughed too much.

Any other conference experiences to share?


One Response to “Death by conference”


  1. Hong Kong – a gala dinner « 中国 Jumble - June 21, 2012

    […] of the perks about attending the seminar in Hong Kong (where I laughed my way through the session), was that there was a gala dinner included.  I’ve never been to a true gala dinner and […]

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