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Data Survey Refines Membership's Information Needs

by Joan Klucarich, Member, CAS Committee on Management Data and Information

In February 2001, the CAS Committee on Management Data and Information conducted an e-mail survey to learn the data management needs of the CAS membership. With the survey results, the committee seeks to enhance its role in providing resources on management data to CAS members. Following are the survey's key findings and the committee's conclusions.

According to the survey results, most casualty actuaries' activities on data are either on the "extraction and manipulation of data" or "assisting in the design of new analytical tools." The members of the committee found it interesting to read about the wide range of "other" responses, including project management, underwriting activities, and information systems. Very few respondents reported spending much time on privacy or ownership of data. Although the amount of time spent on data management activities seems to be modest, casualty actuaries rated many data management activities to be "important" or of "great importance."

Most casualty actuaries would prefer to further education through papers and seminars rather than textbooks or additional syllabus material. Many suggestions were offered to improve the CAS Online Catalog (renamed the Online Database of Actuarial Abstracts).

Most casualty actuaries felt that data quality and data reconciliation were either "important" or of "great importance." Relatively few actuaries thought that the CAS should serve as a data repository, but almost two-thirds thought that the CAS should provide assistance by directing inquiries to other sources.

As a result of reviewing the responses to the survey, and based on its own discussions, the committee reached a number of conclusions. The committee believes that casualty actuaries should have some basic understanding of data quality, data reconciliation, and other key data management issues. While the committee believes that a textbook would become quickly outdated, it concluded that data management should be on the CAS syllabus. Specifically, at a minimum, the syllabus could include the Actuarial Standard of Practice #23 on Data Quality.

The committee appreciates the time and effort taken by the respondents to this survey. We will use this information to improve the services provided in the areas of data management and data quality activities.

Sara Schlenker, Craig Allen, and John Stenmark contributed to this report.