Arizona State University’s (ASU) actuarial science program has five actuarial faculty members and 120 actuarial students. As a winner of the CAS University Award in 2018, the school was ineligible to apply for the award for a period of three years. During this time the Arizona State University continued to enhance its focus on property and casualty across its curriculum, research, and industry engagement, and reemerged in 2021 as a return winner, receiving recognition from the CAS a second time.
- ASU introduced an actuarial science consulting lab in 2018 called, ‘The ACT LAB’ to provide an organized approach to university-industry collaboration on applied real-life projects. The lab takes on projects that require technical expertise and methods, and utilizes undergraduate and masters students, supervised by actuarial program faculty, to complete these projects. The variety of projects to date range from traditional to stochastic approaches to pricing and reserving methods to simulating profit sharing models. The ACT Lab provides meaningful research experiences for students and helps industry partners adopt new methods and approaches while helping them recruit talent, deal with staff augmentation and uneven workflow, and outsource development projects that are not mission critical. Faculty sponsors of the Lab have seen this as an opportunity to understand the issues faced by the industry and to become better acquainted with the current literature.
- ASU’s core actuarial science curriculum addresses property and casualty topics through 17 different courses, incorporating real life applications and guest speakers from local P&C companies. Their course on ratemaking and reserving is one hundred percent P&C content, based on the CAS Exam 5 syllabus, and CAS’s MAS I and II exam material is covered across a few different courses. They also cover a course on business communications taught by a retired FCAS that focuses on providing students public speaking and presentation skills. The program’s upper-division and masters courses involve the application of course topics to real life data, and all masters students are required to take an Applied Project course that involves projects in P&C, health, and pensions.
- ASU is very closely connected with local companies as well as the broader actuarial science community. They have a large and active participation on their Actuarial Advisory board which has 28 members representing the major actuarial employers in the area. This board supports their ACT Lab and generates a substantial volume of internships, scholarships, guest speakers, student events and more. Additionally, over the last three years ASU has hosted a WSIA Student Symposium both in-person and virtually. During the symposium students from universities nationwide are introduced to the property and casualty insurance field.
“Since its commencement 6 years ago, ASU actuarial science program continues to stay true to its mission statement of graduating highly desired, current, and relevant future leaders by the industry. As such, faculty and students are beyond excited to have their efforts validated with this year’s CAS University Award and will continue to be inspired by the profession’s evolution in today’s environment as well as contribute to future innovations in the profession.”
-Jelena Milovanovic, ACIA, AIAA, Ph.D., Professor of Practice, Arizona State University