Brigham Young University’s actuarial science program has four actuarial faculty members and 150 actuarial students. The university impressed the judges with its focus on property and casualty insurance across curriculum, research, and industry engagement.
- The judges were impressed with BYU’s innovative research projects. A major focus for their program is mentored research, particularly for undergraduate students. Nearly all their projects involve students. Highlights included:
- A project on auto loss trends the university has been running since 2017 that is jointly sponsored by the CAS, APCIA, and the SOA. There have been 25 students involved in the three iterations of the project so far, and the findings have been presented at the CAS annual meetings two years in a row.
- A project on machine learning in personal auto in which a faculty member and undergraduate student are currently building models to analyze a personal auto database acquired from the CAS. The code and summaries of the data will be published so practitioners and academics can use the data and build new models.
- BYU’s program has a strong focus on statistics and predictive analytics. In addition to covering actuarial-specific topics like ratemaking and reserving, students are trained to have exceptional modeling skills to prepare them for the future of the actuarial profession. At the undergraduate level they teach two courses on Bayesian modeling, regression, spatial modeling, and time series, along with a standard statistical core. All the topics on MAS-I and MAS-II are covered within their curriculum along with many of CAS’s exam 5 topics.
- The program has strong connections to the P&C industry, with Associate Professor of Statistics and Actuarial Program Coordinator Brian Hartman having worked for both the Hartford and Liberty Mutual. The program boasts four P&C actuaries on its advisory board and has had several P&C employers travel out to Utah for campus info sessions.
“Brigham Young University is grateful to the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) for selecting our actuarial program as one of the recipients of the 2021 CAS University Award. To receive such a distinguished recognition and be included among a distinctive set of actuarial programs is a humbling honor. As a university, we are grateful for the tremendous experiences our students have as part of the actuarial program. We anticipate that this recognition will increase opportunities for our students who are so well prepared for the actuarial profession. We are grateful for the excellence of our faculty, the strength of our students and the partnership with CAS.”
-C. Shane Reese, Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University