April 2014

49th Actuarial Research Conference: University of California, Santa Barbara

By Ian Duncan and Raya Feldman

While the east coast is covered in a foot of snow, and the Midwest shivering in sub-zero temperatures, what better than to plan a trip to California in July? The Actuarial Research Conference (ARC) has not been held on the U.S. west coast for many years. This year’s venue is the beautiful campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, on the Pacific Ocean. One of the 10 universities of the University of California system, UCSB was the only university with an actuarial major until this year, and is still the only university with a master’s program in actuarial science. The program has grown substantially and enrolled a record 170 undergraduates in fall 2013. Located within the department of statistics & applied probability, we teach the full range of courses towards the preliminary examinations of the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society. Other majors in the department include financial mathematics and statistics, and the department is home to the Center for Financial Mathematics and Actuarial Research, headed by Prof. J-P Fouque.

The local planning committee has planned a number of outdoor activities to take advantage of the location and the weather (Santa Barbara does not suffer from the summer heat and humidity of the U.S. East Coast, nor do we welcome a plague of mosquitoes and other bugs every summer). While concurrent sessions will be held in the University Center, lunches, receptions and breaks will be held outside. The conference “dinner” on the second night will take the form of a beach barbeque on the near-by Goleta beach.

The conference begins with a keynote speech by Paul Embrechts, professor of Mathematics at ETH (The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Zurich, Switzerland. Lunch-time speaker on the opening day is Mark Freedman, FSA, MAAA, president of the Society of Actuaries, and he will be followed at lunch on the second day by Wayne Fisher, FCAS, MAAA, FCIA, CERA, president of the Casualty Actuarial Society. Bios of keynote speakers are available on the conference website. In addition to the traditional concurrent technical sessions, representatives from the SOA and CAS education departments will discuss syllabus changes and other developments, such as university outreach.

Innovations for this year’s ARC

We will be hosting a panel consisting of the heads of research of four major actuarial organizations: the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. The panel will discuss research initiatives within their organizations, as well as their process (and budget) for commissioning research. Representatives of the SOA’s Health Section will also be present to discuss their research initiatives and to stimulate interest in health actuarial research among attendees.

The Society of Actuaries sections, who are major sponsors of the conference, have requested more involvement in and feedback from the conference. In addition to Health Section representatives, we welcome representatives from other sections who wish to attend and network with academics in their discipline. All papers, abstracts and presentations will be made available to sponsoring sections, who are then free to follow up with authors of work that may be of broader interest to their members for placement in (for example) section newsletters.

This year we welcome the new editor of the North American Actuarial Journal, Pat Brockett, and we hope to have an opportunity to introduce him to attendees and to hear from him his plans for the journal.

Outside events

We are allowing one evening free for attendees who wish to take the opportunity to visit the attractions of downtown Santa Barbara such as the pier, the beachfront, the Mission, or just enjoy Santa Barbara’s unique Spanish architecture. Bus transportation will be provided

Call for Papers

The call for papers was released at the beginning of February. Of course the success of the conference depends on the quality of submissions from attendees. The deadline for submissions is April 30 and the deadline for reduced fee registration is June 7. Registration is via the conference website, on which you may find full details of the conference, registration, transportation, accommodation, etc.

We look forward to welcoming you in Santa Barbara in July!

Ian Duncan and Raya Feldman are co-chairs of the Local Organizing Committee.

Ian Duncan, FSA, FIA, FCIA, MAAA, is adjunct associate professor at University of California – Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, Calif. He can be reached at Duncan@pstat.ucsb.edu

Raya Feldman, PhD, is a professor at University of California – Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, Calif. She can be reached at Feldman@pstat.ucsb.edu.