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The 52nd Actuarial Research Conference 2017 (ARC 2017) took place at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, with the theme “Actuarial Research at the Crossroads: Transcending Disciplines.” Increasing mounts of data, global trends in climate, interest rates at or below the zero bound, changing regulatory frameworks, etc. make the actuarial profession evermore challenging. ARC 2017 brought together more than 150 actuarial scholars, practitioners, and educators to discuss these challenges and to exchange ideas on the latest development in actuarial research.

The lineup of invited speakers reflects the theme of the conferences, and their presentations showcased the relevance of methods beyond the traditional actuarial toolkit for facing the aforementioned challenges. Christian Gollier, Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, presented ideas on “Evaluation of very long-dated assets, interest rates and climate change”. In particular, Christian explained what advanced economic theories have to say about these very topical problems for actuaries. Damir Filipovic, Swissquote Chair in Quantitative Finance and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Senior Chair at the Swiss Finance Institute, described how results on chaos expansions of random variables can be used in implementing the “Replicating Portfolio Approach to Capital Calculation”. And Jim Guszcza, Chief Data Scientist of Deloitte, provided his views on “Actuarial Science in the Age of AI”. Jim further discussed the relevance of analytical tools in actuarial science as a panelist in a plenary discussion session. The other panelists were Jed Frees, Hickman-Larson Chair of Actuarial Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Rodrigo Martinez, graduate student at Georgia State University—although the discussion benefitted much from a very active participation of the audience. In addition to the plenary presentations, we had more than 75 contributed presentations on diverse topics including actuarial education, climate risk, health insurance, agricultural insurance, financial modeling, cyber risk, longevity risk, pensions, etc. Furthermore, CAS President Nancy A Braithwaite (Travelers) and SOA Past President Craig Reynolds (Milliman) gave the attendees updates on the latest research-related developments in the US actuarial associations.

The conference venue was situated in downtown Atlanta and was close to the three evening social events. The opening reception was held at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, a new museum dedicated to chronicling the civil rights movement. Atlanta was the home of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights struggles in the southern US were headquartered within blocks of the center. Conference attendees toured the facility which recalls the champions of the civil rights movement and the violent events that occurred during that time. Thursday night’s activity was a basketball game played in the GSU Sports Arena, home of the GSU Panthers of the Sun Belt Conference. Though there was no admission charge, the crowd got their money’s worth as the teams made up of conference attendees and presenters went after each other with a fury. The Western Actuaries team edged the Eastern Actuaries team by two baskets and a good time was had by all. A special thanks to Brian Hartman (Brigham Young University) for helping with the organization. Finally, Friday night’s banquet was held in the Atlantic room of the Georgia Aquarium, North Americas largest. The GA tank has 25 foot whale sharks and rays with 15 foot wingspans along with the usual compliment of smaller fish. Beluga whales playfully entertained on the other side of the room, making some lasting memories for those who attended.

Bruce Jones’ invitation for ARC 2018 at Western University made us all excited for next year.

Information on the hosting department:

The Risk Management and Insurance Department at the Robinson College of Business is devoted to the study of risk from different angles. One of the inaugural schools to be named a Society of Actuaries Center of Actuarial Excellence, it has undergraduate and graduate programs in actuarial science. The PhD program is supported by the SS Huebner Foundation which is dedicated to advancing the teachers of risk sciences. The GSU risk management program is ranked #4 by U.S. News & World Report and has been ranked within the top 10 for more than 10 years. ARC 2017 was co-sponsored by the GSU Risk Management Foundation with support from the Casualty Actuarial Society, SCOR, Willis Towers Watson, The Principal, Aetna, and Lincoln Financial.