Meet Our Team

Michael McDonald, FSA, FCIA
Founder & Consulting Actuary

Tel: 613.608.4569
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Since entering the life insurance industry in 2003, Michael’s focus has been on the valuation and risk management of insurance products.

Michael began his career in the United States, working for two major insurance carriers.  For the last twelve years, Michael has worked as an AXIS modeling consultant with expertise in life and health insurance products that include variable annuity, traditional life, disability, long-term care and universal life, as well as, various reinsurance blocks.  In addition to liability models, Michael also has expertise in modeling assets backing liability reserves.

Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Working with a large global reinsurer in developing and implementing their Model Transformation Initiative for their U.S. operations.
  • Leading work stream in Actuarial System Transformation for a global insurer to improve governance, flexibility and efficiency of E2E reporting process.
  • Implementing best practices valuation framework for a mid-sized Canadian insurer.
  • Converting valuation models to AXIS for various lines of business:  variable annuity, traditional life, long-term care, universal life, and equity index annuity.
  • Building spot checking spreadsheets for clients that replicated projection and reserve calculations (USGAAP/US Stat) from their production models.
  • Developing best practices change management protocol related to AXIS models development.
  • Developing nested stochastic model that projected hedge cash flows and was a key tool in analyzing hedge effectiveness for a U.S. insurer.


Shawn Stackhouse, FSA, FCIA
Consulting Actuary

Tel: 416.731.0657
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Shawn has worked as an actuarial consultant to the insurance industry since 1997.

Shawn has worked extensively with AXIS throughout his career.  His experience includes managing and executing projects involving AXIS model conversions, AXIS calculator replications, finance transformations, model vetting, actuarial audits, product pricing, valuation and financial reporting.  Shawn has extensive experience and modeling proficiency using AXIS, Excel, Access, and VBA.

Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Converting actuarial models from legacy systems to AXIS for regular life, universal life, disability, long-term care, variable annuity, and equity indexed annuity products.
  • Implementing new modeling functionality and product features into existing AXIS models for the projection and valuation of insurance and annuity products.
  • Creating AXIS, spreadsheet and database processes for Canadian and USGAAP, statutory and tax reporting.
  • Building complex spreadsheet models to independently calculate policy projections and reserves that verify and replicate the AXIS calculation engine to facilitate audits and validation of model changes.
  • Establishing recommended model design principles and best practices for the design, maintenance and documentation of AXIS models to provide a consistent modeling approach throughout an organization.
  • Performing detailed vetting of AXIS models to ensure correct set-up, product features, assumptions and calculations.
  • Designing AXIS models to set premiums and analyze profitability for life and annuity insurance products.
  • Developing Excel/VBA tools to facilitate, automate and control creation, modification and documentation of AXIS tables and objects.


Jessica Newman, FSA, FCIA
Consulting Actuary

Tel: 416.219.5898
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Jessica has worked in the life insurance industry since 2003.

Jessica began her career in the reinsurance industry working on pricing and valuation of individual reinsurance products including life, longevity, critical illness, disability, and long-term care.  For the last five years, Jessica has worked as an AXIS modeling consultant, executing on projects involving model conversions, model developments, model design best practices, peer reviews, pricing and financial reporting.

Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Designing and building AXIS models for traditional life, critical illness, disability, long-term care, annuity and reinsurance products.
  • Converting actuarial models from legacy systems onto AXIS for regular life and par products.
  • Implementing model enhancements and new functionality into existing AXIS models to support new products, assumptions, and new regulations.
  • Conducting thorough peer reviews of actuarial pricing and valuation models to ensure the models accurately reflect the intended set-up, product features, assumptions and calculations.
  • Managing financial reporting for a Canadian reinsurer, including valuation (IFRS/CGAAP, USGAAP), capital (MCCSR, economic) and embedded value.
  • Designing model templates, profit analysis reports and pricing processes to support an accurate pricing function.
  • Developing best practices change management protocol related to AXIS model development.
  • Conducting mortality and lapse experience studies resulting in revised best estimate and valuation assumptions.

Royce Chen, FSA, FCIA, CERA
Consulting Actuary

Tel: 416.560.0580
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Royce has worked on the forefront of designing and developing AXIS since 2014.  Before joining Actuarial Design, Royce worked at Moody’s as the leader of an AXIS development team and has accumulated extensive knowledge across several modules including annuity, universal life, and regular life.  In addition to his thorough understanding of the AXIS calculation engine, Royce has spent considerable time reviewing models, advising clients on configuration, and designing new modeling solutions.

Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Leading the design and development of AXIS IFRS 17 functionalities for Universal Life and Annuity contracts under both GMM and VFA methods.
  • Designing and developing functionalities to support USGAAP LDTI in AXIS, with focus on MRB calculations for FIA products.
  • Working with client and consultant to design a tailored AXIS solution to model client’s intricate multi-layer reinsurance arrangements.
  • Leading multiple crucial projects that implemented key FIA modeling features for major annuity clients.
  • Developing and enhancing AXIS calculations under various regulatory regimes, including CRVM, XXX, AG 36/37/38 for UL products, and CARVM, AG 33/35, FAS 133 for annuity products.
  • Investigating and resolving client reconciliation questions and issues arising from model validation processes, auditing, and actuarial model conversions.

Brenda Winter picture

Brenda Winter, BMath
Actuarial Consultant

Tel: 416.457.0883
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Brenda is an AXIS modelling expert with over 20 years of experience.  In addition to 17 years as consultant and Senior Manager in the Life Actuarial Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, she has worked at OSFI as a Senior Supervisor in their Life Insurance Conglomerates Group and as VP, Model Governance Lead at Swiss Re.  She is an expert in actuarial model design and in efficient, robust modelling techniques using AXIS, DataLink, and other applications.

Brenda has been involved in a wide range of assignments including actuarial model conversions, financial reporting, Dynamic Capital Adequacy Testing, experience studies, embedded value determination, product development, audit reviews, actuarial business process re-engineering, and M&As.

Her actuarial conversion modelling work experience is extensive and spans all types of products including UL, reinsurance, ALM, LTC, and traditional life products.  She has deep experience in programming specialized code in AXIS, documenting and enhancing the effectiveness of actuarial models, and generating custom reports.

Some of her accomplishments include:

  • Having been a member of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries Modelling Task Force that produced the Educational Note on the Use of Models, and a contributor to the Society of Actuaries Modelling Section Newsletter.
  • Leading a team of actuarial professionals in the conversion of a large block of LTC policies from a factor-based model to explicitly modelling product features and decrements in AXIS for Canadian GAAP purposes.
  • Directing multiple large AXIS conversion projects spanning all types of products, including a US GAAP conversion project for a large UL block with secondary guarantees and multiple CGAAP conversions for UL, LTC, and traditional life products.
  • Managing and participating in the process of determining requirements, recommending the approach, validating cashflows and results, and developing controls to help manage model risk.
  • Managing and executing the build of a valuation model for a new Canadian life reinsurer. This involved building the liability and asset projection models in AXIS and setting up a process to run the Canadian Asset and Liability Method and other financial reporting quarterly/annually as required.
  • Identifying model and process improvements that resulted in the consolidation and redesign of the AXIS models for a large Canadian insurer’s UL block. Brenda provided AXIS expertise, developed the framework, and directed the implementation team, resulting in an 80% reduction in run-time. The framework was then used by the company to make improvements on other blocks.
  • Developing and overseeing the implementation of a Modelling Standard as part of a Model Risk Framework for a large reinsurer’s US business.
  • Auditing the insurance liabilities for several insurance companies. This work involved reperforming calculations for sample policies, and reviewing the Appointed Actuary’s report, assumptions and modelling to ensure conformance with Canadian regulations.

Iyueshaw Yang, FSA, ACIA 
Consulting Actuary

Tel: 416.948.4658
Connect on LinkedIn: linkedin
Iyueshaw began his career in 2015 and specializes in Moody’s AXIS, SQL Server and financial reporting.  He has extensive technical knowledge, having built models in AXIS, SQL, and VBA.  Before joining Actuarial Design, Iyueshaw was Director of the valuation and reporting team at Munich Re, where he oversaw USGAAP, Canadian GAAP and Solvency II reporting for all lines of business including individual life, CI, DI, LTC and Group reinsurance products.   

Some of his accomplishments include:

  • Designing and building AXIS models for life, CI, DI, LTC, LTD and reinsurance products in the Canadian, US and European market space.
  • Leading multiple work streams in large scale AXIS conversion projects aimed at improving efficiency, flexibility and auditability of E2E reporting processes.
  • Implementing model enhancements and functionality into existing AXIS models to support new products, assumptions, and regulations.
  • Redesigning backend SQL data models for data warehousing purposes to house production related data, resulting in more auditable and efficient downstream reporting processes.
  • Overseeing financial reporting for a Canadian reinsurer including valuation (USGAAP/CGAAP/SII), capital (LICAT) and embedded value (SII).


Janet Bevan, CFP®
Business Operations Manager

Janet’s background has been with a multinational technology and consulting corporation.  Janet’s responsibilities involved managing pension plans and working closely with a Canadian-based international insurance company, a global financial service provider, and a risk management global consulting company.

Some of her projects included:

    • Investment performance and analytics,
    • Internal and external auditing practices,
    • Internal controls and procedures to ensure validity of financial records,
    • Sarbanes-Oxley, the U.S. Act for the regulation of corporate governance and financial practice,
    • Cash management.