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Purdue University March 3, 2008 Stuart Klugman, FSA, Actuarial Education Consultant, SOA and Professor of Actuarial Science, Drake Univ. The Actuary as Expert Witness. Today’s Presentation. Skit What is an expert witness? What are some guidelines? Personal experience DNA forensics
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March 3, 2008
Stuart Klugman, FSA, Actuarial Education Consultant, SOA and Professor of Actuarial Science, Drake Univ.
The Actuary as Expert Witness
When knowledge of a technical subject matter might be helpful to a trier of fact, a person having special training or experience in that technical field, one who is called an expert witness, is permitted to state his or her opinion concerning those technical matters even though he or she was not present at the event. For example, an arson expert could testify about the probable cause of a suspicious fire.
A person who testifies at a trial because she has special knowledge in a particular field. This entitles her to testify about her opinion on the meaning of facts. Non-expert witnesses are only permitted to testify about facts they observed and not their opinions about these facts.
a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been a witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case. It is an exception to the rule against giving an opinion in trial, provided that the expert is qualified by evidence of his/her expertise, training and special knowledge.
If the expertise is challenged, the attorney for the party calling the "expert" must make a showing of the necessary background through questions in court, and the trial judge has discretion to qualify the witness or rule he/she is not an expert, or is an expert on limited subjects. Experts are usually paid handsomely for their services and may be asked by the opposition the amount they are receiving for their work on the case.
There may be occasions when an actuary acts as an advocate for a principal when giving expert testimony. Nothing in this standard prohibits the actuary from acting as an advocate. However, acting as an advocate does not relieve the actuary of the responsibility to comply with the Code of Professional Conduct and to use reasonable assumptions and appropriate methods.
When the actuary testifies concerning other relevant testimony, including opposing testimony, the actuary should testify objectively, focusing on the reasonableness of the other testimony and not solely on whether it agrees or disagrees with the actuary’s own opinion.
Expert testimony delivered by means of a written report should describe the scope of the assignment, including any limitations or constraints. The written report should include descriptions and sources of the data, actuarial methods, and actuarial assumptions used in the analysis in a manner appropriate to the intended audience.
Reliance on Data Supplied by Others – In most situations, the data are provided to the actuary by others. The accuracy and comprehensiveness of data supplied by others are theresponsibility of those who supply the data. The actuary may rely on data supplied by others, subject to the guidance in section 3.5. In doing so, the actuary should disclose such reliance in an appropriate actuarial communication.
The actuary should review the data used directly in the actuary’s analysis for the purpose of identifying data values that are materially questionable or relationships that are materially inconsistent. If the actuary believes questionable or inconsistent data values could have a material effect on the analysis, the actuary should consider further steps, when practical, to improve the quality of the data.