Financial insurance reading recommendations
November 18, 2016 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Help this creative writer be smarter at my exciting financial insurance marketplace job.

So I went to school for an English and Creative Writing degree, and now I'm in a job I love at a government organization that manages a financial insurance program. I need to catch up, fast.

I learn well by reading and processing, so I'm hoping to find a few (text?)books that will help me internalize and understand concepts like:
*interest rate (and the effects of futzing with it)
*discount rate (for cash flow analysis)
*assets vs liabilities
*liability-driven investing
*present value of future expenses
*underwriting activities
*segment (interest) rates
*select and ultimate interest factors

I know that's a bit of a hodgepodge of terminology, but those are some of the core concepts that I'll really need to comprehend completely in order to add value to my team. I'm excited to learn this stuff, and I'm open to books, videos, podcasts, etc.

Perhaps at some point in the future I'll take some classes, but for now I'm looking at self-paced learning. Thanks, smarties!
posted by kinsey to Work & Money (3 answers total)
The Barron's Business Review book on Finance covers a number of these topics, though not in a way specific to the insurance industry.
posted by praemunire at 1:27 PM on November 18, 2016

Investopedia's a good quick reference --- the homepage is useless, but googling say, "investopedia discount rate" will lead you to a good quick definition. Better on narrower topics, very helpful if you need a bit of jargon translated. I'd also try poking around in the Planet Money podcast archives for insurance related stuff like this. Their whole deal is to try and explain financial topic for the man on the street, so they can act as a good primer to a topic, though their mandate is much broader than insurance.

As you're just trying to get a feel for this stuff, two general financial news blogs you might try are Matt Levine at Bloomberg and the Finanical Times' Alphaville blog (alphaville requires sign in). They're more about wall street news, but they both have a lot of coverage of the Fed and the broader implications of interest rate changes and the effects of federal regulation. Alphaville is more industry insider. Levine specializes in wry deconstructions of Wall Street controversies and news --- generally he points out the ridiculous by simply putting normal financial news into terms anybody can understand, which is handy. (Here he is commenting on Trump's effect on interest rates, for example.)
posted by Diablevert at 4:49 PM on November 18, 2016

Levine, while tremendously entertaining, is a huge industry shill. There's nothing he won't rationalize away.
posted by praemunire at 5:51 PM on November 18, 2016

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