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Math 478 / 568: Actuarial Modeling. Professor Rick Gorvett Spring 2014. Syllabus. Office Hours : 3-4 pm Tuesdays, 3-4 pm Wednesdays, or by appointment Textbook : Klugman , Panjer , and Willmot , 4 th edition Exam dates : 3 exams, per syllabus Grades : Exams, homeworks , project.

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Math 478 568 actuarial modeling

Math 478 / 568:Actuarial Modeling

Professor Rick Gorvett

Spring 2014


Office Hours: 3-4 pm Tuesdays, 3-4 pm Wednesdays, or by appointment

Textbook: Klugman, Panjer, and Willmot, 4thedition

Exam dates: 3 exams, per syllabus

Grades: Exams, homeworks, project

Syllabus cont
Syllabus (cont.)

  • Graduate Students: Do Math 478, plus an extra project

    • Project is potentially semester-long

  • U/G Honors Students: Project alternatives will be handed out ~ half-way through the semester

Class objectives
Class Objectives

  • Understand the mathematical foundations of actuarial modeling

    • Loss modeling

    • Model selection and parameter estimation

    • Credibility theory and simulation

  • Appreciate this material in a multi-disciplinary context

  • Learn Exam 4/C material

Loss modeling
Loss Modeling

  • How do we represent the potential for events?

  • Frequency × severity = aggregate loss

  • Statistical distributions

    • Frequency – e.g.,

      • Poisson

      • Negative binomial

    • Severity – e.g.,

      • Lognormal

      • Exponential

      • Gamma

      • Pareto

Model selection and parameter estimation
Model Selection and Parameter Estimation

How do we select amongst alternative models?

How do we use empirical data to determine the characteristics of distributions?

In what sense are some models and parameters “better” or “optimal” in a given situation?

Credibility theory and simulation
Credibility Theory and Simulation

  • Credibility theory

    • How do we “blend”:

      • Old and new data?

      • Group versus individual data?

      • E.g., { Z•New + (1-Z) •Old }

  • Simulation

    • How do we use models to estimate the impact of potential future scenarios?

Actuarial science and finance
Actuarial Science and Finance

  • “Coaching is not rocket science.”

    - Theresa Grentz, former University of Illinois Women’s Basketball Coach

  • Are actuarial science and financial mathematics “rocket science”?

  • Certainly, lots of quantitative Ph.D.s are on Wall Street and doing actuarial-

    or finance-related work

  • But….

Actuarial science and finance cont
Actuarial Science and Finance (cont.)

  • Actuarial science and finance are not rocket science – they’re harder

  • Rocket science:

    • Test a theory or design

    • Learn and re-test until successful

  • Actuarial science and finance

    • Things continually change – behaviors, attitudes,….

    • Can’t hold other variables constant

    • Limited data with which to test theories


Two real-world examples

Example 1
Example # 1

Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

Facts leading up to launch
Facts Leading Up to Launch…

23 successful launches prior to January 28, 1986

Previous launches at temperatures from 53°F to 81°F

Challenger launch on morning of 1/28/86 was at 31°F – far below previous launches

Launch o ring information
Launch / O-Ring Information

  • Launch vehicle configuration:

    • Orbiter

    • External fuel tank

    • Two solid rocket boosters, manufactured by Morton Thiokol (MT)

      • Sections sealed with O-rings, whose performance is sensitive to temperature

  • But: MT’s recommendation stated that “Temperature data (are) not conclusive on predicting primary O-ring blowby.”

The result
The Result

Vehicle exploded 73 seconds after launch

Cause (per Rogers Commission): gas leak in SRB, caused by failure or degredation of O-ring, led to weakening or penetration of external fuel tank

Rogers Commission conclusion: “A careful analysis of the flight history of O-ring performance would have revealed the correlation of O-ring damage in low temperature.”

Statistical analysis
Statistical Analysis

How predictable was it?


Statistical analysis cont
Statistical Analysis (cont.)

Charts from “Risk Analysis of the Space Shuttle: Pre-Challenger Prediction of Failure,” by Dalal, et al, Journal of the American Statistical Association, December 1989


Example 2
Example # 2

Taco Bell


The Mir Space Station

Taco bell and mir
Taco Bell and Mir

  • Space Station Mir

    • In orbit for 15 years

    • Expected to crash back to earth on March 24, 2001, in the Pacific Ocean

    • Size of projected debris field: 200 km × 6,000 km

  • Taco Bell

    • Offered a free Crunchy Beef Taco to every U.S. resident if the core of Mir hit a 144 square-meter target 15 km off Australian coast

Taco bell and mir cont
Taco Bell and Mir (cont.)

Suppose you are an actuary, working for an insurance firm

Your firm has been approached by Taco Bell to insure against the potential financial loss associated with their possible Mir-related payout

What’s a reasonable price for such coverage?

Taco bell and mir cont1
Taco Bell and Mir (cont.)

Aggregate loss = frequency times severity

What is the probability of Mir hitting the target?

What will it cost Taco Bell if it does?

Taco bell and mir cont2
Taco Bell and Mir (cont.)

  • Potential cost:

    • Population of United States?

    • Cost of a Crunchy Beef Taco?

    • Potential cost?

  • Probability of a hit?

  • Indicated premium?

Taco bell and mir cont3
Taco Bell and Mir (cont.)

  • Issues:

    • Uniform distribution across debris field?

    • How many will cash in?

    • What about expenses / fixed costs?

Next time
Next Time

  • Random variables

    • Conditional probabilities and Bayes Theorem.

    • Survival functions.

    • Hazard rates.