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Data science and Lifelong Learning

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Data science and its potential for Actuaries

The world of data science continues to be both a threat and an opportunity for actuaries in traditional and new areas of work. With rapid advancements in technology, we can collect, store and draw insights from data like never before, with the potential to transform both traditional actuarial fields and open up new sectors and industries. We think that ‘Big Data’ is going to change the world and we want to be ready to embrace the opportunities that come along with it.    

Certificate in Data Science

John TaylorAt the AGM in June 2019 John Taylor announced the launch of the IFoA's Certificate in Data Science. This Certificate will be available to our members at all stages of their careers and wherever they are located across the globe. It will, cover topics such as Data Visualisation, Machine Learning, AI and Ethics, and the application of these to actuarial work. We are delighted to be working with the Southampton Data Science Academy (SDSA) to present a certificate in data science jointly accredited by the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton.
 

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Autumn Lecture

Watch our Autumn Lecture 2017 that explores these issues in detail.

Data science holds huge potential for changing the way in which actuaries work. Explore what data science is from an actuarial viewpoint.

Data science, in all its manifestations, is rarely out of the public eye these days. Why has it become such a hot topic, though, and what role should actuaries play in understanding and explaining it?

Read more


Courses to get you started

These are offered by:

These courses are online, flexible, and sometimes free; allowing you to choose when you start and how much time you spend. Each course is valuable providing a different perspective on Data Science, from Basic R to detailed analysis. Explore the options for an MSc, with a number of full or part time opportunities; for a comprehensive list of the available courses, visit the Study Portals Masters site

Data science course review

We asked some of our members for feedback on the courses they had studied; members of the Modelling Analytics and Insight from Data (MAID) Working Party identified Machine Learning (Andrew Ng, Stanford University) offered by Cousera as a great introduction.  This is what they said:

This course covers a full spectrum of machine learning starting from the basics and there is a practical focus on how to build machine learning solutions (neural networks and others) from scratch to solve real world problems. The course is 11 weeks long and requires circa 3-4 hours a week of study to complete course. The course is free but there is an option to pay for a certificate (for a one off course fee of £58).

The course is taught through a mix of lecture videos, notes, multiple choice questions and programming assignments in Octave (a freeware version of Matlab). This course is both relevant and may be useful to actuaries although it may not be suitable for every actuary because of the hands on programming which will require individuals to get stuck into it to get a lot out of the course. Recommendations are to complete programming assignments to get full benefits of course.

Qualifications provided by Actuarial Associations and other Professional Bodies:

Other learning options which you might wish to consider if you are looking for a qualification in the Data Science area:

The CAS Institute Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CSPA)

The Operational Research Society - Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®)

The Society of Actuaries - Predictive Analytics Certificate Program

Lifelong Learners are motivated to never stop learning

Take time to reflect and plan before you begin any new projects

Reflect: check the competencies against your current role and future ambitions

Plan: identify exactly what skills and knowledge you need and how best to acquire them

Do: take courses, read articles, find a mentor, look online, volunteer

Record: write down everything you do, how far it met your objectives, the impact on your work

More on Data science

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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The role of actuaries within the health sector varies considerably from one country to another, due to differences in the local evolution of health systems and the funding models for health services. 

  • Spaces available

    This paper outlines key frameworks for reserving validation and techniques employed. Many companies lack an embedded reserve validation framework and validation is viewed as piecemeal and unstructured.  The paper outlines a case study demonstrating how successful machine learning techniques will become and then goes on to discuss implications.  The paper explores common validation approaches and their role in enhancing governance and confidence.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.
     

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA Policy Briefing 'Can we help consumers avoid running out of money in retirement' examined the benefits of blending a lifetime annuity with income drawdown. Panellists, including providers and advisers, will look at the market practicalities of taking the actuarial theory through into the core advice propositions used by IFAs and Fund Managers. They will share a number of practical issues such as investment consequences before and after retirement and the level of annuity that is appropriate and answer questions from the audience.

  • Speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    1 December 2021

    The IFoA is pleased to be hosting the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, to deliver a speech on delivering policyholder protection in insurance regulation.

    The speech will be presented to an in-person audience, and simultaneously live-streamed, at 14.00 on Wednesday 1st December.

  • The Many Faces of Bias

    2 December 2021

    Spaces available

    This webinar looks at the many types of biases, both conscious and unconscious and the impacts they can have in the workplace.  Raising our own awareness and understanding of the issues can help us avoid the pitfalls of unconscious bias in particular.  We’ve all heard the phrase ‘office banter’ but are we sure that’s how those on the receiving end perceive it and is it ok to go along with it?

  • Spaces available

    Actuaries need to take action now - but how?  With a focus on climate change, this session will provide informed insight to enable you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the issues involved, demonstrate how it will impact advice to your clients, and highlight prospective opportunities for actuaries within pensions and wider fields.

  • Spaces available

    Pension scams have become more prevalent as a result of the pandemic, and Trustees have increased responsibilities to protect members, which means that actuaries need to be in a position to provide advice in this area. Our specialist panel will include a professional trustee, an IFA and head administrator, two of whom are members of PASA.

  • Spaces available

    The covid-19 pandemic creates a challenge for actuaries analysing experience data that includes mortality shocks.  To address this we present a methodology for modelling portfolio mortality data that offers local flexibility in the time dimension.  The approach permits the identification of seasonal variation, mortality shocks and late-reported deaths.  The methodology also allows actuaries to measure portfolio-specific mortality improvements.  Results are given for a mature annuity portfolio in the UK

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, the authors of the 2021 Brian Hey prize winning paper present a new deep learning model called the LocalGLMnet. While deep learning models lead to very competitive regression models, often outperforming classical statistical models such as generalized linear models, the disadvantage is that deep learning solutions are difficult to interpret and explain, and variable selection is not easily possible.

  • Spaces available

    The dominant underwriting approach is a mix between rule-based engines and traditional underwriting. Applications are first assessed by automated rule-based engines which typically are capable of processing only simple applications. The remaining applications are reviewed by underwriters or referred to the reinsurers. This research aims to construct predictive machine learning models for complicated applications that cannot be processed by rule-based engines.

  • Spaces available

    With the Pension Schemes Act 2021 requiring a long term strategy from Trustees and sponsors, choosing a pensions endgame strategy has become even more critical. However, it is important that the endgame options available are adequately assessed before choosing one. With an ever-increasing array of creative and innovative options available, this decision may not be straightforward.