People in the actuarial profession are often degree holders for either mathematics or statistics. After all, actuarial science can be viewed simply as insurance mathematics. However, there are actuaries who have had their roots elsewhere. One of these actuaries is Ernesto E. Reyes. Ernie, as he is called by those close to him, hailed from another lofty and equally rigorous discipline: physics. His proficiency in physics, amplified with actuarial mathematics, led him to become an actuarial stalwart both for the Philippine government and for the private sector.
Ernie graduated from the premier state university, University of the Philippines, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1964. He then completed his Master of Science degree in Physics in 1968. And finally, he pursued and completed his Master of Science in Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1971.
From 1961-1969, he was an instructor in physics for the University of the Philippines. He achieved Actuarial Science Civil Service Eligibility in 1969. Then in 1971, he joined the Government Service Insurance System. He was also part of projects for the Land Bank of the Philippines and for the Central Bank of the Philippines in 1973. He later became Senior Assistant Actuary from 1973 to 1974. He became an accredited actuary by the Philippine Insurance Commission also in 1974. Beckoned by the private sector, Ernie joined Jardine CMG Life Insurance Company from 1974 as Vice President and Actuary. He later became Senior Vice President and Actuary in 1983 and served in that position until 1994. He was also a member of the board of directors for Jardine CMG Life Insurance Company (1986-1994) and for Jardine CMG Pensions (1992-1994). From 1996 to 2000, he was Vice President and Chief Actuary for AETNA Life Insurance, Inc. and Aetna Healthcare. He also became a member for their board of directors in 1999. Ernie has also lent his actuarial expertise to several organizations and companies such as the Lincoln National Life Reinsurance (1978-2002), East Asia Premium Education (1995), AETNA Life Insurance Inc. (1995), Department of Finance (2000-2001), PhilHealth and Management Health Services Inc. (2002), Zurich Life Insurance Company (2002-2004), World Bank Funded Project under The Services Group (2006), Asian Development Bank (2007-2008, 2014), Great Pacific Life and Pacific Plans Inc. (2003-2011) and Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Corporation (2012-2013).
For someone as gifted in both Physics and Mathematics, Ernie having been bestowed honors and scholarships should come as no surprise. He was high school valedictorian at Bacolod City High (1960), a recipient of the Superior Performance Award for the MDP Program at the Asian Institute of Management, National Science Development Board scholar in Bachelor of Science for Physics at the University of the Philippines (1960-1964), Local Rockefeller scholar in Master of Science for Physics (1965-1967) and a GSIS scholar in Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Michigan (1970-1971). He’s also a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of the Philippines, an Associate Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines and a Member of the International Actuarial Association. Ernie’s a member of several honor societies such as the Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society for academic excellence, Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society for excellence in the Social Sciences and Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society for excellence in Physics.
Physicists are known to have minds refined to have a better understanding and perception of the universe. They are, after all, trying to explain the complexities of existence. It is therefore the actuarial industry’s stroke of good fortune that one of those refined minds, Ernie, decided to become an actuary.