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Halmstad Prize

David Garrick Halmstad Prize

By Claire Bilodeau

As incoming chair of the Halmstad Prize Committee, I would like to request your help to make sure no great paper is overlooked in this year's selection process.

What is the Halmstad Prize?

For those who may not know what the Halmstad Prize is, here is an excerpt from the Web site of The Actuarial Foundation.

The David Garrick Halmstad prize is given annually for actuarial research in memory of David Halmstad, an Associate of the Society, for his significant contributions to actuarial science and research. Funds for the prize were contributed in Mr. Halmstad's memory by his friends and colleagues. The Actuarial Foundation continues to support the prize in his memory.

To select the best paper on actuarial research published each year, a committee of the Society's Education and Research Section examines major English language actuarial journals, nominates outstanding papers, reviews the selected articles, and votes for the best paper. The results of these proceedings are submitted to the AERF Committee of The Actuarial Foundation for the final selection. This award follows the year of publication rather than the actual calendar year.

Acknowledgements of Precious Collaboration

Several people have given a hand in the selection of the winning paper for publication year 2006.

First and foremost, my thanks go to Elias Shiu, who has spearheaded the efforts over many years, possibly since the inception of the prize. I by no means qualify as his successor in every which way.

I personally wish to thank Mary Hardy who supported me in bringing to life the new process which goes into nominating and selecting papers for the Halmstad Prize. The new process has been in place for two years. It is not up to speed, it needs fine tuning, but the vision is clear!

The committee is composed of six subcommittees, each with its own chair. The role of each subcommittee is to survey a given field and come up with nominations which the subcommittee chair then brings for discussion at the committee level.

Here is the list of subcommittees, chairs and members.

  Subcommittee Chair Members
Property & Casualty Phil Heckman Joel Atkins
Prakash Narayan
Life Steven Craighead Carole Bernard
Steven Joyce
Bud Ruth
Pension Kelley McKeating Doug Andrews
Kristen Moore
Health * *
Finance & Risk Management Ken Seng Tan Patrice Gaillardetz
Sheldong Lin
Hailiang Yang
Mathematical Foundations Jenny Young Sheldong Lin
David Promislow

The Health Subcommittee did not have an official Chair, but I owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce Jones and Vincent Kane who came to the rescue when I called out to them at the last minute.

Thanks also to the staff at the Casualty Actuarial Society and Society of Actuaries who made things happen from an administrative standpoint: Jane Fulton, Sue Martz and Cheri Widowski.

Thanks to Curtis Huntington who works in the shadows to ensure continuous funding for the prize, even increasingly so!

Congratulations for Great Research

There would not be much point in getting all these people involved if there were not great research happening to begin with! For publication year 2006, the Halmstad Prize Committee recommended that the following paper be awarded the prize:

"Pricing Death: Frameworks for the Valuation and Securitization of Mortality Risk," by Andrew J. Cairns, David Blake and Kevin Dowd, Astin Bulletin, vol. 36, no 1, 2006, pp. 79-120.

This recommendation was reviewed by The Actuarial Foundation and that paper indeed received the prize, as you can confirm on the foundation's Web site.

The Committee thought the following two papers deserved honorable mentions:

"The Impact of Multifactorial Genetic Disorders on Critical Illness Insurance: A Simulation Study Based on UK Biobank," by Angus Macdonald, Delme Pritchard and Pradip Tapadar, ASTIN Bulletin, vol. 36, no 2, 2006, pp. 311-346.

"Financial Valuation of Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefits," by Moshe A. Milevsky and Thomas S. Salisbury, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, vol. 38, no 1, 2006, pp. 21-38.

Selecting a winner was difficult; each subcommittee itself had a hard time limiting its number of nominations to the larger committee! With the ever increasing numbers and expanding horizons, I can only surmise how daunting the task will appear in twenty years!

Requests for Help

The importance of the task, not only in terms of work but also in terms of significance, is such that many hands are needed. As you know, many hands make light work! Besides, very few (not to be inferred to mean none) could pretend to have a good grasp of every single area of actuarial science.

The hope is to divide the whole science into relatively clearly delineated fields, each of which is to be surveyed by a subcommittee, composed of people who, even if there would no prize, would read on up on the topic. In that sense, agreeing to serve on a given subcommittee should not add a significant burden.

So, here is my plea for help.

If, be it as an academic or practitioner, for work or for leisure, you read research on a given actuarial topic, please volunteer to serve on the related subcommittee. You will help make sure no great paper is overlooked.

I also am looking for people to chair Health and Pension Subcommittees.

I cannot promise great pay—I even am late with thanks—but I can promise a sense of satisfaction coming from having helped identify the best actuarial paper.

Claire Bilodeau