Herbert S. Wolf, husband of the late Nancy (nee Bild), father of Jackie, Glenn (Debra), Kevin (Mary Gau), and Rob (Dru Orenstein), grandfather of Cora Glazer and Levi Orenstein-Wolf, died on November 26, 2018. He was 91. Born and raised in Germany, he fled the Nazis with his parents and brother in 1937, settling in Holland. In 1939, he left Holland with his family just before the Nazi invasion, eventually settling in Chicago.
Inspired by his horrific experiences during childhood, he led sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters in Champaign, Illinois in the late 1940s before most Americans had even heard the phrase “civil rights.” He supported social justice causes until the end of his life. As an actuary Herb continued to adhere to his social justice sensibilities, serving as the actuary for many labor unions.
Herb graduated with a masters degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois in 1951. As a graduate student and statistician, he was the co-author of two books, published by the University of Illinois Press, Physical Fitness of Champion Athletes and Physical Fitness of Normal Young Men. He began working for Bruce and Associates (now Bruce & Bruce) soon after graduate school. His next position was at Pilgrim National Life Insurance, where he eventually served as executive vice president. In 1961, he became a longtime partner and consulting actuary at Wolfman and Moscovitch in Chicago specializing in life insurance financial reporting, life insurance company valuations and reinsurance. In the early days of computers, he became adept at programming using machine language, Hollerith cards, and paper tapes when memory was a few dozen bytes.
Herb was an early member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA), and was a longtime fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries. Although Herb did not follow the exam route of actuarial education, he had a complete mastery of actuarial principles and practices. He developed his firm’s actuarial pricing and reserving software. He was a trusted advisor to a large number of small and medium sized life and health insurance companies in the Chicago area and nationwide.
Later in his consulting career he advised regulators and state Guaranty Associations. This latter work led him to become chairperson and primary author of the Conference’s August 1992 “Report of the Task Force on Insurer Solvency in the United States of America of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries.”
Herb was also a leader in the Conference of Consulting Actuaries. He served on the Board of Directors from 1981-1987, eventually as secretary/treasurer. In 2010, Herb was the sixth person to earn the Conference’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Herb served the profession with integrity and professionalism. He adhered to basic principles fairly and honestly and preached what he practiced. After his retirement from practice, he served on Task Forces advising the Actuarial Standards Board.
The burial will be private. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, January 13 at 11 am at the Selfhelp Home in Chicago. Donations in Herb’s memory may be sent to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, or the Selfhelp Home in Chicago.
Faye Albert and John Radek