This research consortium is made up of academics and industry experts from across the globe

Research Team Biographies

Professor Jens Perch Nielsen

Professor Jens Perch Nielsen, joint principal investigator for this programme and Professor of Actuarial Science at Cass Business School, London, with a PhD in statistics from UC-Berkeley. He is a fully qualified actuary from Copenhagen, an associate member of the IFoA and has twenty years of experience in the insurance and pension industry. The invention of Time Pension, when he was research director in the global insurer RSA, was a game breaker in the Danish market. He served six year as consultant and entrepreneur before joining Cass as a full professor in 2012. He is the co-author of more than 100 scientific papers in reviewed journals of actuarial science, economics, econometrics, operational research and statistics and also has co-authored a book on quantitative operational risk modelling. Professor Nielsen has co-written published academic papers with all academic members of the project. He will be the primary supervisor for the Cass Business School-located doctoral students and postdoctoral researcher. He will meet regularly with the industrial partner, Jens Lind (Danika Pension) to discuss the research results obtained to date and get their input and feedback.

Dr Catherine Donnelly

Dr Catherine Donnelly, joint principal investigator for this programme and Associate Professor, Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt University. Dr Donnelly is a qualified actuary and has worked for four years in the pensions industry. She has a PhD in mathematical finance from the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research interests lie in pensions, life insurance and stochastic control theory, and she has been published widely in these areas. She has published several papers with Professor Nielsen and Professor Guillen, and has a close working relationship with both of them. Dr Donnelly is the principal investigator at Heriot-Watt University. She will be the primary supervisor for the Heriot-Watt-located doctoral student and postdoctoral researchers.

Professor Montserrat Guillen Professor Montserrat Guillen, Director of the Riskcenter, the research group on Risk in Insurance and Finance, Institute of Applied Economics, University of Barcelona, Spain. Since April 2001, Professor Guillen has been Chair Professor of the Department of Econometrics at the University of Barcelona. Her research focuses on actuarial statistics, economics and quantitative risk management. She was President of the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists, the Geneva Association, in 2011. She has served on industry boards as well as scientific groups, international programs and steering committees and she has also conducted R&D joint programmes with many companies. For example, she helped Professor Nielsen to invent Time Pension at the beginning of this millenium. Professor Guillen is expected to co-author at least ten of the fundamental papers of this programme. She is a popular invited conference speaker and will be a key player in the programme, when distributing our academic knowledge.
Dr Ana M.Perez Dr Ana M. Perez, Associate Professor of Actuarial Statistics at the University of Barcelona and a member of the research group Riskcenter. Her research interests are related to actuarial statistics, survival analysis and marketing in insurance. Dr Perez-Marin will take the computational lead of at least six papers of this project. She will provide one-to-one computational teaching to many of the doctoral students involved in the project.
Professor Stefan Sperlich Professor Stefan Sperlich, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He has published over 60 papers since 1994, in addition to six books. His research is on the analysis of econometric models,empirical economics, non- and semi-parametric methods and computational statistics. He has led many research projects, as well as several consulting projects for the Spanish government. Professor Sperlich will work with Dr Scholz on generating the outputs for Workstream 4. Professor Sperlich has the responsibility for producing the outputs.
Dr Michael Scholz Dr Michael Scholz, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Graz, Austria. His research interests are in economics and statistics, including semiparametric methods. Dr Scholz will work with Professor Sperlich on generating the outputs for Workstream 4. He will take the computational lead on these papers providing one-to-one teaching to the doctoral students involved.
Dr Munir Hiabu Dr Munir Hiabu, is a postdoctoral researcher on this research programme. Before joining the team, Munir studied Mathematics at Heidelberg University and obtained a PhD in Actuarial Science from Cass Business School.
Dr Thomas Bernhardt Dr Thomas Bernhardt, is a postdoctoral research on this research programme. Before joining the team he earned his PhD in mathematics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and moved to the UK from Berlin, Germany. He is passionate about mathematics and society, so joining a project to optimise future pension plans was a natural fit.
Dr Rami Chehab Dr Rami Chehab, is a postdoctoral researcher on this programme. Before joining the team, Dr Chehab received his PhD in Econometrics from the University of Exeter in 2017. He also holds an MSc Economics and Econometrics from the University of Exeter and a BE in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics and Economics from the American University of Beirut.  Dr Chehab's research interest include the development of robust econometric and statistical inference methods using bootstrap algorithms with financial time-series: heavy-tails and dependent time series. These characteristics of financial time-series are a well-observed phenomenon, especially in our contemporary world. His research interest also includes modelling long-run asset returns for assessing risk and return for long-term investors such as pension plan participants. 
Photo of Peter Vodicka Peter Vodicka, is a PhD student working on this programme. Before joining the team Peter graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava where he studied Applied Mathematics and Modelling, before studying for his masters at Charles University in Prague. He is interested in subjects such as stochastic calculus, survival analysis, counting processes, portfolio risk management and optimal control.

 

 

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Events calendar

  • Current Issues in Life Assurance (CILA) Webinar series

    Webinar Series
    15 July 2020 - 3 August 2020

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual 'Life' calendar. Due to COVID-19 we are running the programme as a series of webinars covering topics aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries and those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance - For annuity writers, a key challenge is the need to fund capital-consumptive new business strain (NBS) as a consequence of writing the business intended to fund future distributions. Reinsurance, investment strategy and capital provision all have roles to play which we will investigate in this webinar

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance – Mortality in 2020 is now dominated by one thing, although – in our future-focused world – the pandemic is just one of many mortality considerations.  In this session, three well-regarded mortality/longevity specialists provide an overview of implications and impacts of COVID-19, recent and imminent CMI developments and more 'future focused' work in the MRSC

  • Spaces available

    Because of Covid-19, forecasters predict a severe recession in 2020, followed by a V or U-shaped recovery. This impacts both individuals and companies. However, compared to previous recessions, the impact on banks of higher credit losses should be mitigated to some extent by government actions. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This session will provide an overview of the Population Health Management Working Party's research including defining impactability and impactability modelling, discussing some examples of specific modelling approaches, considering the practical challenges across the NHS as well as wider public perception and ethical issues.

  • Spaces available

    Many actuaries consider career opportunities in the Finance and Investment practice area after having started off in more traditional actuarial roles such as valuations, capital management or pricing. This session is aimed at helping actuaries to better understand roles in Finance and Investment and how they can fine tune their skills to pursue such careers.

  • Mortality and Longevity Webinar Series 2020

    Webinar Series
    22 July 2020 - 10 August 2020

    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 22nd July.

    This webinar series will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity, and is designed to be very accessible to a broad range of experience.

     

  • Spaces available

    Insurers are making increasing use of medical research to help with assumption, models and underwriting. Experienced mortality/ longevity specialists discuss the issues in the interpretation of  medical research papers, using a range of case studies. The case studies will include COVID-19 points of current importance. Many of the concepts discussed (data bias, inference of causation) are also applicable to equivalent questions in 'big data' and advanced analytics.

  • Spaces available

    Members of the Mortality Working Group of the IAA have analysed changes in mortality for about 30 causes of death  and will discuss how causes of death are classified, and the problems of long-term data, appropriate metrics, including "years of life lost" (YLL), causes of death - a "measure of cohortness", the changes in dominant causes of death at older ages, and how can these types of studies enhance mortality forecasting.

  • Spaces available

    Predictive risk assessment and risk stratification models based on postcode-level consumer classification are widely used for life insurance underwriting. However, these are socio-economic models not directly related to health information. Similar to precision medicine, precision life insurance should aim to tailor policy pricing/reserving to the individual health characteristics of each client.

  • Spaces available

    This discussion, the fourth in the Extreme Mortality Events webinar series, will look at what poor model selection and calibration could look like – using inappropriate historical data; using incorrect 2020 mortality data; and inappropriate stochastic model recalibration (or lack thereof). Presented by Chair of the Life Board of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Colin Dutkiewicz. 

  • Spaces available

    This webinar has been re-scheduled from its original date of the 1st July. Although ESG has many buyers across the asset allocation community, from pension funds to sovereign wealth funds, it still hasn’t found its place within the core asset management strategy desks where the money is actually invested. The problem as well as the opportunity is Fixed Income. Plenty of strategies exist for incorporating ESG within Equities, from screening, integration to a combination. ESG has picked up relatively quickly within Equities with rating,indices created using ESG factors. This talk will discuss how we price a quantifiable ESG credit risk premium and make it alpha worthy in a strategy. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    With the rising prevalence of dementia, how can we manage this risk effectively and can insurance do more? Matt Singleton, Ageing Lead at Swiss Re, will cover these topics and demonstrate how insurance could help people address their concerns.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance – Join us for an exploration session on the use of data science in insurance companies today including how insurers are making sense of and using new data sources and technologies, exploration of practical applications of data science within actuarial work, benefits of data-driven decisions to solve business problems using the power of data and technology, and the role that actuaries can play to harness the benefits of data science.

     

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This talk will look at a range of such techniques (e.g. mass lapse risk transfer, contract boundaries, risk margin relief, non-standard longevity risk transfer) that have been applied or considered by UK and EU insurers, and the pros and cons of each.

     

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance.

    The International Association of Insurance Supervisors announced on 14 November 2019 the adoption of v2.0 of the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) which will undergo confidential reporting for 5 years starting from 2020. This session will include specific experiences from Legal and General (L&G) as well as global industry perspectives from EY.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This session will cover the PRA supervisory statement on financial impacts related to climate change, industry insights into PRA climate risk business plans, examples climate risk strategy setting out key workstreams and activity steps for successful execution, an overview of a climate risk strategy execution timeline and the future.     

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Using new and unique research and data from the UK, US, Sweden and China, this presentation investigates how consumers use the internet through their insurance journey and analyzes the role culture and generation plays in their online behaviour. We use this research to show the online landscape for insurance sales in the UK and suggest ways to shape new products and effectively engage with the consumer who is buying them.

  • Spaces available

    Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Gen Re Life/Health Research and Development, Dr John O'Brien, will discuss the impacts of Gene Modification for life/health insurance. 

  • Spaces available

    As an industry, it has been important to be able to look to the future to identify the next quantifiable risk. In this session, I will explore some of the less tangible, but none-the-less concerning risks to future health, such as the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, ingestion of plastic in the food chain, and the hazards of indoor air pollution through exposure to volatile organic compounds.

  • Spaces available

    The working party will help the industry to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes and excess mortality is considered, including the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. 

    The insurance industry currently underwrites customers with diabetes based on a range of factors, medical expertise and various medical studies. The work undertaken by the Diabetes Working Party would help the industry to approach this using current research findings to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes is considered. This includes the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes. This webinar will present our latest findings in the management of this important chronic condition which will include research in collaboration with the ARC.