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About Blufftop

The mission of Blufftop LLC is to provide software tools, consulting and research to the actuarial profession, financial institutions and government regulators. 

Blufftop LLC was originally founded as Blufftop Software Development by Stephen J. Strommen, FSA, MAAA, CERA, as a vehicle for providing software in connection with projects of the Computer Science special interest Section of the Society of Actuaries (now called the Technology Section).  The first products were updates to the Table Manager Software first developed in 1995.  Later, a project was undertaken to develop a standard file format and software interface for stochastically generated sets of economic scenarios that are often used in actuarial risk analysis and valuation of complex financial guarantees.

While the software developed in connection with those projects has been distributed at no cost, Blufftop has expanded beyond volunteer efforts.  Mr. Strommen has retired from employment by an insurance company and is devoting his full time to a combination of consulting and development of software for sale.  Both consulting engagements and future software products will focus on actuarial techniques applied to risk management and principles-based financial reporting.

About Steve Strommen

Stephen J. Strommen  FSA, CERA, MAAA has 35 years of insurance industry experience, including over 25 years of responsibility for the corporate financial modeling functions of a major life insurer. 

As a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, Steve has been active in efforts by the profession to develop principles-based financial reporting approaches:

  • He was a member of the Life Reserves Work Group that helped develop principles-based statutory valuation for life insurance.  In that capacity he led the modeling sub-group that provided illustrations of the proposed techniques.  He also devised the "stochastic exclusion test" that determines which business does not require stochastic techniques for valuation.
  • He chaired the International Accounting Standards Task Force that was charged with responding to the IASB and FASB regarding proposed new accounting standards for insurance.

As a member of the Society of Actuaries, Steve has served as a member of project oversight groups.  Involvement changes over time but has included POGs regarding the scenario generator, the tables database, and a research project on systemic risk.

Steve's research and consulting interests focus on putting advanced actuarial techniques into practice.  This includes actuarial valuation and modeling of risk, especially the use of stochastic techniques in  financial reporting and development of regulatory capital  requirements for financial institutions.

Steve brings a practical, task-oriented approach to any assignment.  He is noted for an ability to clearly communicate on technical topics, tailoring his approach to the needs and background of the audience.  And he has a unique combination of actuarial experience and software skills that together facilitate rapid design and development of tools to accomplish complex actuarial tasks.

The motivation behind our mission

The last couple of decades have brought a revolution in the techniques being used to evaluate, price, and manage financial risk.  Where simple point estimates of expected values used to suffice, practitioners must now evaluate whole distributions and apply elaborate algorithms in the context of simulations that would take months or years to carry out by hand.  In short, the ability to harness computer power has become an absolute necessity.

However, as in so many fields, the availability of flexible and capable computer software has been lacking.  The high cost of developing such software leads to a situation where only large institutions can afford to purchase it.  And the availability of software suitable for an educational or research setting is sparse to non-existent.

Regulatory requirements, including financial reporting, are increasingly placing demands on use of this technology.  There is a need not only for software tools but also for consulting advice regarding appropriate use advanced risk valuation and risk management techniques.

The mission of Blufftop LLC is to help fill needs in these areas.  Efforts focus on software development and consulting, with emphasis on actuarial risk management and financial reporting.