Casualty Actuarial Society

Limited Attendance Seminar - Reserve Variability

Reserve Variability
Limited Attendance Seminar

August 27-29, 2012
Loews Hotel
Philadelphia, PA

The Course is now Full. Registration has been closed. To be placed on a wait list please contact Leanne Wieczorek.

Understanding reserve variability has recently become an important skill for the practicing actuary. Moving from point estimates and deterministic ranges to distributions of possible outcomes is one of the critical quantitative building blocks for effective Enterprise Risk Management. Insurance executives, regulators, risk managers and rating agencies are all beginning to raise the bar for the actuarial profession with respect to discussing and disclosing insurance risk calculations.


This seminar is designed to enhance the skills of the practicing actuary with regard to fitting and using and communicating results from loss reserve models. Emphasis in the seminar will be on the process of moving from deterministic methods for estimating a single point to stochastic models for estimating a distribution. The learning objectives include:

  • Review of Statistical Concepts
  • Understanding of Ranges vs. Distributions
  • Knowledge of Statistical Modeling Techniques
  • Hands on Use of Models, with Emphasis on Simulation Models
  • Understanding of Diagnostic Testing
  • Understanding of Model Strengths & Weaknesses
  • A Better Understanding of Quantifying and Communicating Uncertainty


The instructors are Mark R. Shapland, FCAS, ASA, MAAA, a Consulting Actuary in the Atlanta office of Milliman, Inc., and Louise A. Francis, FCAS, MAAA, a Consulting Principal for Francis Analytics & Actuarial Data Mining, Inc.

Mr. Shapland was the chair of section three for the Reserve Variability report, has written a paper on a statistical approach for determining reasonable reserves, and has spoken on the topic of reserve variability at many CAS and international meetings.

Ms. Francis is a past CAS Vice President of Research & Development and won the Michelbacher award (1989) for a paper about using simulation to quantify variability.


The target audience for this seminar is actuaries that are new to statistical / probabilistic reserving or that wants a ground up refresher course. While some review of the theoretical underpinnings will be included, the emphasis will be on practical aspects of using stochastic models.


A review of basic statistical concepts and an exercise set will be sent out prior to the start of the seminar. Attendees are expected to understand these concepts and a pre-seminar teleconference may be scheduled to answer questions.

Attendees are encouraged to read sections 1 through 3.1(pages 1-24) of the Working Party on Quantifying Variability in Reserve Estimates final report prior to the seminar. However, no prior knowledge of the concepts and models in this report will be assumed. The seminar will be organized around the practical issues discussed in the Working Party report, including a hands-on look at several stochastic models.

Attendees are encouraged to bring the following:

  1. A laptop computer that has Microsoft Excel loaded (2003 or later version recommended - earlier versions should still work, but the instructors cannot guarantee this ahead of time). The instructors will be using and distributing Excel files and using add-in tools to do numerical calculations. Be sure that the Analysis ToolPak, Analysis ToolPak - VBA and Solver Add-Ins for Excel are installed on your machine. Files will be distributed via email before the seminar and on a flash drive at the seminar.
  2. GUI Interface

  3. Questions for the instructors.
    • This will assist them in covering topics of interest to the audience.
    • Questions submitted via the registration form or email prior to the seminar will be given priority.
  4. Their own data for analysis provided that:
    • it can be shared with the other attendees,
    • it is 10 x 10 annual by annual symmetrical data,
    • it is submitted to the instructors at least two weeks prior to the seminar, and
    • the instructors reserve the right not to review specific data sets in class due to time constraints.

Attendance is limited to a maximum of 40 participants. Attendees will be selected on a first registered, first accepted basis. Participants are expected to bring their own laptop to the seminar.


August 27, 20128:00 am – 11:00 amReview of Homework on Basic Statistics (Optional)
August 27, 201211:00am – 5:00pmSeminar
August 28, 20128:00 am – 5:00 pmSeminar
August 29, 20128:00 am – 3:00 pmSeminar (Instructors will stay until 5:00pm for those that do not need to catch a flight)

For a complete detailed syllabus, please click below to download a PDF agenda. During the optional half day session, the instructors will review statistical functions and their properties, including Excel probability and statistics functions as well as how to generate random variables in Excel, in addition to reviewing all of the homework. This knowledge will be assumed during the main two days of the seminar and NO additional review of the homework will take place during the seminar.

*Note: this is subject to change

Reserve Variability Syllabus


The Course is now Full. Registration has been closed. To be placed on a wait list please contact Leanne Wieczorek.

Registration Fees (in U.S. Dollars) If received on
or before August 13
If received
after August 13
CAS Member, or Active Candidate* $1,100 $1,200
Non-Members $1,300 $1,400

* An Active Candidate is a non-CAS member who has attempted at least one actuarial exam in the last two years.

Continuing Education Credits

The CAS Continuing Education Policy applies to all ACAS and FCAS members who provide actuarial services. Actuarial services are defined in the CAS Code of Professional Conduct as “professional services provided to a Principal by an individual acting in the capacity of an actuary. Such services include the rendering of advice, recommendations, findings, or opinions based upon actuarial considerations.” Members who are or could be subject to the continuing education requirements of a national actuarial organization can meet the requirements of the CAS Continuing Education Policy by satisfying the continuing education requirements established by a national actuarial organization recognized by the Policy.

CAS members earn 1 CE Credit per 50 minutes of educational session time, not to include breaks or lunch.

Note: The amount of CE credit that can be earned for participating in this activity must be assessed by the individual attendee. It also may be different for individuals who are subject to the requirements of organizations other than the American Academy of Actuaries.


The seminar will be held at the:
Lowes Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Reservations: 888-575-6397

A limited number of rooms have been reserved for the evenings of Sunday, August 26 - Tuesday, August 28, 2012, at a rate of $159.00 per night for a single or double room, plus taxes. You must specify that you are with the Casualty Actuarial Society when making your reservations. Room reservations must be made by August 3, 2012.


The Casualty Actuarial Society is able to conduct high-quality meetings at desirable sites for a reasonable registration fee because a block of hotel rooms is reserved for meeting attendees. In exchange for filling the required number of sleeping rooms, the CAS is permitted to use the hotel’s meeting space at no cost, thus keeping registration fees low. In addition, meeting attendees receive a reduced rate for their sleeping rooms over leisure travelers. We kindly request that all meeting attendees take advantage of the group rate and stay at the official Reserve Variability LAS property, The Lowes Philadelphia Hotel.


The registration fee will be refunded for a cancellation received before August 20, 2012 less a $100 processing fee. Only written cancellations will be honored. Cancellation requests can be faxed to (703) 276-3108 and e-mailed to


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