FCAS, MAAA, CSPA
Director and Consulting Actuary

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Laura A. Maxwell

Laura Maxwell is a director and consulting actuary with Pinnacle Actuarial Resources in the firm’s San Francisco, California office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Moravian College. She has worked in the property/casualty insurance industry since 1987 and has provided consulting services since 2003.

Ms. Maxwell currently serves the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) as a member of the Casualty Loss Reserve Seminar Planning Committee, E-Forum Committee, and syllabus part vice chair of the Syllabus and Examination Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) Cyber Risk Task Force and a member of the Actuarial Science Advisory Board at the University of the Pacific.

Prior to consulting, she was a product manager for a direct auto insurer and held actuarial positions with a state insurance department and national rating bureau. Her background includes personal and commercial lines pricing and reserving.

Publications and Media

Case Studies

Funding Study

Funding Study

Pinnacle was approached by an aircraft manufacturer to provide recommended funding for various aviation and liability coverages. Pinnacle’s initial steps included discussing coverages to be provided and what data was available to complete the funding study. The captive was a start-up with no loss information on which to determine appropriate funding levels. Pinnacle was able to determine that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had a database of aircraft incidents that recorded both the manufacturer and model of the aircraft involved in the incident. Since the manufacturer was able to provide the number of units produced, Pinnacle was able to determine the frequency and severity of the incidents and project ultimate funding levels. The captive is currently operational after receiving regulatory approval.

Optimization of Assets and Liabilities

Optimization of Assets and Liabilities

An international insurance and reinsurance company wanted to design an optimization model to be used for both asset and liability decisions. Pinnacle actuaries were able to demonstrate to company management that their initial approach was both practically and theoretically unsound and prevented them from implementing a flawed decision making procedure. We were also able to suggest approaches that were more sound and would allow them to design a model that performed as desired.

U S Domestic Statement of Actuarial Opinion

U S Domestic Statement of Actuarial Opinion

Domestic U.S. property/casualty insurers and risk retention groups are required to file an Annual Statement with state regulators each year by March 1. Part of that filing includes the submission of a formal Statement of Actuarial Opinion (SAO) by a qualified Appointed Actuary as to the reasonableness of held loss and loss adjustment expense reserves. The SAO must be one of five types:

  • Reasonable
  • Inadequate/Deficient
  • Excessive/Redundant
  • Qualified
  • No Opinion

In addition to the SAO, most jurisdictions require an Actuarial Opinion Summary (AOS) providing more detail on the Appointed Actuary’s specific findings by March 15. Lastly, a formal report narrative in support of the SAO and AOS is required to be available by May 1.

As the SAO is a compliance document, the primary audience is state regulators but the individual company must arrange for the service to be provided.

A recent SAO for one of our clients touched on many of the required disclosures:

  1. The adequacy of held reserves on a net basis were below the low end of our range of reasonable reserves until we took into account anticipated salvage and subrogation recoveries.
  2. The unearned premium reserves for long duration contracts were substantial and we conducted a review to determine they were adequate
  3. The Company held material loss and loss adjustment expense reserves for pools and associations. In order avoid having to issue a Qualified Opinion, we separately computed indicated reserves for two of the pools/associations, and obtained an SAO from the Appointed Actuary for the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Pool.
  4. Reinsurance recoveries were in doubt for certain carriers as balance were sometimes overdue by more than 90 days. After reviewing the reinsurers’ A. M. Best ratings, we made the required disclosures about reinsurance collectability. 

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