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Representatives from Swiss Re Discuss Actuarial Science and Data Science


On Tuesday, November 2nd, the Actuarial Club hosted Swiss Re for a presentation on “Actuarial Science or Data Science?”. The presentation was led by presenters Amanda Chiang, Darren Govender, and Rachel Nordstrom.


The presenters began by speaking about their personal backgrounds in actuarial science and data science, and they talked about their opinions of the two fields. We heard about the importance of statistics in an actuarial career and the great flexibility that a skillset based in actuarial science offers.


Next, Rachel talked about her work in People Analytics, also known as Human Resource Analytics or “analyzing people data”. She touched on the fact that both the company and her team span across the globe which brings both challenges and great benefits. People Analytics involves a large amount of sensitive personal information about the company and its employees. In People Analytics, both consultants and data scientists work together to create dashboards displaying information related to various topics such as pay distribution to determine fairness across the globe. These dashboards have predictive value and are used to help the company make important decisions regarding its people.


Darren then talked about Property and Casualty Analytics, which is commonly referred to as Swiss Re Analytics. This work is split into consulting, which tailors solutions to individual clients, and their Impact+ work, which houses ready-to-go platforms with data analytics and metrics across property, motor, and commercial lines of insurance. We also learned some details of advanced analytics and how it involves interaction between data scientists and actuaries. There can be around 600 variables for a given data set. Data scientists use models to show which variables are relevant in a particular case, so that actuaries are able to focus on the important ones.


The Actuarial Club thoroughly enjoyed hearing about Swiss Re’s work with analytics. We would like to thank Swiss Re, Amanda, Darren, and Rachel for their time spent talking to the club. We learned quite a bit and hope to hear from them again in the near future!

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