Talk:Actuarial science

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This is a stub article. Please fill out from University course catalogs, e.g. University of Waterloo which has a whole department just for this. Preferably also rely on UK sources as London is the center of the worlds reinsurance industry.

Not any longer :) -- Avi 19:02, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

See for temporary information, the Web site for the highest level professional organization in North America, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Not exactly; the SOA is in Schaumberg, the CAS is in Virginia, and the AAA is in DC. -- Avi 19:02, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Contributed as a teaser requesting a complete article, by Thomas F. Eason, a former Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. Contact at this address:

I find it nearly unbelievable that there is not a single mathematical formula on this entire wiki page. Actuarial studies are primarily based in solid probabilistic mathematics, yet a reader of this wiki entry can leave the page without having a basic idea of what the actuarial science really is. I'll be transcribing some important phrases from my textbooks here in the near future. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

To do[edit]

This article needs significant work. Much of the "history" section from Actuary can be brought over here as a start, but it will need significant fleshing out and structuring. == Avi 15:14, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I think that the following all need presence in this article, and perhaps linked to the respective main articles. As a casualty reinsurance actuary, that is where my expertise lies. Other actuaries should please help flesh this out:

  • Time value of money
  • mortality/morbidity
  • life contingencies
  • life tables
  • commutation (for historical purposes)
  • probability
  • loss models
    • deterministic
    • stochastic
    • aggregate loss models
    • freq/sev loss models
  • simulation
  • finance
  • CAPM
  • options pricing theory
  • valuation
  • reserves
  • pension forcasting

For starters. A big job, but it will take this boderline article and turn it into something we can be proud of, IMO. Comments? -- Avi 19:00, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Nice job. The only thing I noted is that it ends leaving the impression that the mis-alignment of the practice with modern finance is in the past, when most North American actuaries are still using the specific method identified that is mis-aligned. Can you try to re-write the last sentence. I would but I'm not familiar with the book referred to in that sentence. Deet 21:25, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. Of course, you can be bold and do it yourself, or any other improvement you care to add, but I did adjust the sentence for what I believe is a better reflection. By the way, that book is a basic text on casualty actuarial science, composed of a number of papers that make up the chapters. There are a number of them on the CAS syllabus, but the intorduction is not, so I could not link to a PDF of said chapter. -- Avi 21:35, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, on closer inspection of the words, I'm ok with it because it talks about intent rather than implementation. Nice job again. Deet 03:00, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Some thoughts[edit]

1. i thought i added the words ' through highly competitive examinations and experience". but i am getting punchy. i cant find where they weere edited out. so i am going to put them in again. unless someone has taken them out.

2. this article needs a lot of work, but it looks like it has improved or potentially improved 500% overnite. could that be Avi?

3. Avi edited out the words: "risk-adjusted outcomes analyis" which is OK in one context. but in another contect, it is an important function that not well understood, and must be undertaken by actuaries and doctors working together. it deals with the measurement of the cost and efficacy of comparative medical procedures like natural birth vs caesarean birth. i personally was involved with outcomes analyis.

joe 01:52, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Modern financial theory[edit]

two of the factors delaying the adoption of modern financial theory methods were 1) the long term nature of the insurance contract - e.g. a whole life policy on my mother-in-law from te prudential ran 91 years, and my wife still had an option to accept a life contingent settlement. 2) long term guarantees. joe 13:35, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

The average remaining term of life insurance liabilities are obviously much much shorter (and that is only life insurance, not property, auto, etc which are well within normal yield curve parameters), but in any event those are implementation or operational details, and are not a reason for diverging from risk neutral valuation as a principle or goal. Deet 15:04, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
just thinking. the 1906 armstrong investigation was a major force in dampensing a risk neutral mindset in favor of ultra conservatism. also the MSVR, Mandatory Security Valuation Reserve forced conservatism. the MSVR was a not reserve but a formula impacting assets and liabilites. For example, it was not possible to HEDGE.

joe 16:05, 3 July 2006 (UTC). I worked on the IBM 650 computer at the Prudential arooiund 1958. I was te first to program it, I believe. I t was the first meaningful tool to help reduce the manual calculations of insurance premiums and reserves, etc. complexity and the lack of computing power held us back.joe 16:05, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

It would not have been possible to use risk-neutral arbitrage free pricing models on U.S. mortgage backed securities back in 1958 either (if they had existed), but the point is that the computing tools do exist today and they are utilized in all other parts finance, but are not fully utilized in insurance yet. Like insurance, MBS (or CMOs, etc) must also mix complex modern financial theory with complex statistical customer behaviour (prepayment models). Deet 16:26, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
i dont disagree with anything you have said. i was using monte carlo methods in the late 1960s when i was a young actuary pricing dental insurance which i introduced to the Prudential. but it was tedious because of the restrictions of computing time allocations. i have tried a few times to rattle the actuarial cage. and they are changing for the better. joe 17:36, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Hsiao reference[edit]

Hsiao was the originator and project leader for the RBRVS, which is important since it underlies most of the health care payment financing in the USA. i wanted to reference Hsiao with the study and also reference his bio. I am sure i am violating some wiki protocol here; and there might be a better way to do it. joe 14:11, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

If you feel he is suitably notable, start an article on him, and then use "authorlink" in the reference to link to that article. Warning, if he is not suitably notable in the eyes of wikipedia, the article will be nominated for AfD. If it survives, fine, if not, so be it. -- Avi 15:58, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Modern Financial Theory[edit]

my 25 children and grandchildren have left or are in bed or glued to a television somewhere. so i am resting thinking about traditional life insurance and modern financial theory.

two of the requirements for whole life insurance are a guaranteed cash value and a reserve calculation. insurance regulations stipulate how they are to be calculated. and it is a requirement to use a discounted r interest rate. of course, one has more options with variable and universal life insurance. no need to reply.joe 02:33, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Not a science[edit]

This is a professional field of money making. It is about money not science. Chivista 12:41, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The name of the field is Actuarial science. It is a discipline that synthesizes statistics, probability, and econometrics with economics and finance. One's own OPINIONS cannot be placed into articles; only statments with reliable attribution per WP:ATT and WP:RS. Please refrain from adding your personal opinions to the article, as that is considered vandalism. Thank you. -- Avi 13:05, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
No but really... Why is it considered a science? Or since when? How does it follow the scientific method? Hamsterlopithecus (talk) 09:06, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Ask the countless of institutions of higher learning that refer to it in that fashion. Face-smile.svg. Wikipedia's function as a tertiary sources is to accurately reflect the secondary sources it collates. Please see WP:NPOV for more information. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 13:43, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. But maybe a mention of these reasons in the article would be nice. I am honestly curious about this. And apparently i'm not alone. Hamsterlopithecus (talk) 15:11, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
It would be inappropriate under WP:NPOV#Undue weight. -- Avi (talk) 16:39, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Pension Financial Economics & FASB[edit]

From the Financial Economics section: 2. assets and liabilities with identical cash flows should have the same price. This, of course, is at odds with FASB.

Shouldn't this say 'is consistent with' rather than 'at odds with'? Item 2 describes how a discount rate is determined under SFAS 87 & 106.Knappy7 21:21, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

O dang![edit]

The science has gone through revolutionary changes during the last 30 years due to the proliferation of high speed computers and the synergy of stochastic actuarial models with modern financial theory (Frees 1990).

One of the very few usages of the word "synergy" on WP that doesn't end up being jargon for "I don't know what I'm talking about". Find whoever added this and give them 10 banana stickers. Although I also support the above clarification that "actuarial science", regardless of how it is popularly known, is in fact not science. Tacking the word "science" on the names of fields that people consider to be important does not actually promote that field to the status of a real science. Nothing predicated on human behavior is allowed to be science unless you want to win a Nobel Prize and present the world with a realistic model of human behavior that effectively predicts individual choices, and not just vague aggregate trends. -- (talk) 18:10, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Re: science, please see WP:NPOV. While you may personally disagree with the nomenclature, that is how the discipline is referenced in all major institutions of higher learning in the US and UK, and how the various actuarial associations refer to the topic as well. -- Avi (talk) 13:46, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

The chinese translation of the term is based on the following....[edit] -- (talk) 06:00, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Red links in the See also section are associated with the following.....[edit]

-- (talk) 06:38, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:36, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

and many more...
-- (talk) 07:22, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Red links for the topic of Actuarial finance

-- (talk) 11:53, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Standards...???...not many .....from....[edit]

Google scholar point of view

-- (talk) 11:09, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

but governments are anxious though

-- (talk) 11:11, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 11:13, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 11:16, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

"Pensions valuations and funding must comply with the Financial Accounting Standards Board"[edit]

I'm not sure what the statement "Pensions valuations and funding must comply with the Financial Accounting Standards Board" is trying to say, but it's misleading.
FASB standards have absolutely no control over funding requirements; qualified US pension plans have minimum funding requirements set by ERISA and enforced by the DOL.
Further, FASB standards are but one valuation basis required of many US pension plans (others include the above ERISA funding requirements, PBGC premium requirements, etc). And FASB standards don't apply to all plans; government plans, plans of companies not traded publicly in the US, etc aren't subject to FASB standards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:23, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Further reading[edit]


Here are some recent relevant publications on actuarial science, which may be useful for people, willing to improve of this article further:

  • Gavrilov L.A., Gavrilova N.S. Mortality Measurement at Advanced Ages: A Study of the Social Security Administration Death Master File. Living to 100 and Beyond: Survival at Advanced Ages [online monograph]. The Society of Actuaries, 2008, 32 pages
  • Gavrilova N.S., Gavrilov L.A. Can exceptional longevity be predicted? Contingencies [Journal of the American Academy of Actuaries], 2008, July/August issue, pp. 82-88.
  • Gavrilova N.S., Gavrilov L.A. Physical and Socioeconomic Characteristics at Young Age as Predictors of Survival to 100: A Study of a New Historical Data Resource (U.S. WWI Draft Cards). Living to 100 and Beyond: Survival at Advanced Ages [online monograph]. The Society of Actuaries, 2008, 23 pages.
  • Gavrilova N.S., Gavrilov L.A. Search for Predictors of Exceptional Human Longevity: Using Computerized Genealogies and Internet Resources for Human Longevity Studies. North American Actuarial Journal, 2007, 11(1): 49-67.

Hope it helps. Full texts to study are available for those who are interested.

Best wishes, Gavrilov (talk) 18:16, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Spelling mistake in main image[edit]

Just noticed the PDF has an annoyingly misspelled box in the top right, which says "spreadhseet" instead of "spreadsheet". There's probably nothing we can do about it though - it's a page from a government document (page 8 here: and the misspelling seems to be on every page of the document from that point onwards! Could we use [sic] or something? (talk) 10:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)