October 2012

Apps For Actuaries: We Have Winners!

By Mary Pat Campbell

Congratulations to the three winners of the SOA Technology Section’s Apps for Actuaries contest! Below are the winners and descriptions of the proposed app from their submissions.

Alran Aakre, Appcast
General Description: This app would allow the user with easy access to pre-recorded webcasts.

An Example of its Use: Can be used to satisfy CE, to learn more about a certain topic, for guidance on professionalism (could have a video on each precept, with examples of what to do in certain situations). Could also include videos to spread the good word about what actuaries do for those interested in learning more about the profession.

Trudy Engel, Insurance Regulation Search Engine
General Description: Given the plethora of information available from various insurance regulatory bodies, this application will provide an easily searchable mobile directory of insurance regulations.

An Example of its Use: To aid in keeping on top of what is relevant and new in insurance regulation from various actuarial bodies worldwide, SOA, CIA, IAIS, etc.

Steven Welander, SOA Library App
General Description: Using tag or keyword searching, a listing of relevant TSA/Records/The Actuary, etc., articles would appear. Articles could then be selected for viewing on-screen or several could be selected and downloaded for offline viewing (like when on a flight). The current library would need to be tagged, which could be crowd-sourced among members, but would result in much better search results than current keyword searching.

An Example of its Use: I have a question about how to Frazierize ages. I’d click the SOA Library app, select tag search, find the Frazierization tag and tap it, and a list of relevant articles appears. Tap the article I want and start reviewing it.

App idea submissions were judged based on originality, usefulness, and platform flexibility, in addition to checking that the app would be of interest to at least one of the following groups:

Actuarial students
Financial services professionals
Business purposes in general

The contest was a great success, with more than 80 app idea submissions from SOA members.

Certain ideas were so good (and so in demand), that several people submitted them. In particular, there were 15 separate submissions of trackers of CPD credits (and other credential-related submissions). The SOA Library App and Insurance Regulation Search Engine were part of the largest category of apps submitted: Library/reference apps totaled 17 submissions. Student-specific apps were also well-represented. Ideas were submitted for study calendars, exam credit converters (quit changing the system, SOA!), flashcards, and sample exams.

There were social networking apps suggested, including an Actuarial Dating Service (Bad strategy guys—one should know the benefit of diversification of careers amongst significant others … being a P&C actuary and the other being a pension actuary does not count as diversification.). To show we’re not all spreadsheets and dour looks, there were a couple of actuarial joke app ideas as well.

We’ve shared the whole set of app idea submissions with SOA staff, and who knows? Perhaps we’ll see some of these ideas come to life in the future. If history is any indicator, the winning apps will be built—the Apps for Actuaries website already has a number of purely actuarial applications, and more come through as people share their great app finds.

Visit the site today to check out the apps or recommend your favorites: http://appsforactuaries.org/.

Mary Pat Campbell, FSA, MAAA, is life analyst for Conning Research & Consulting, Inc. She can be reached at marypat.campbell@gmail.com.