A vision for actuaries in data analytics

The analytics skill set is one of the core sub-disciplines of the actuarial profession, so how can the profession better promote and enhance it to develop trusted insights and commercial strategy? Mitch Prevett, Chair of the Data Analytics Working Group reports.

Actuaries have been innovative in the past, broadening from the traditional areas of life to general and health insurance, they have advanced the traditional statistical modelling techniques used. The profession now needs to adapt to the global changes in how information is gathered, stored and analysed.

The core actuarial skill set is highly relevant in this new world. The capacity to aggregate and analyse different volumes of information effectively is fast becoming the basis of competition for business. With this in mind, the Actuaries Institute has established a Data Analytics Working Group (DAWG) to develop and progress an ambitious vision for actuaries in data analytics.

The Working Group kicked off its first meeting on Tuesday 21 April 2015. The group is made up of members with a background in general and life insurance, superannuation and data analytics, from a mix of consultancies and companies, as well as Council and HQ team members.

We have four main areas of interest.

  • Vision for Data Analytics
  • Education
  • Actuarial Community
  • Employer engagement

In line with Goal 5 of the Actuaries Institute 2015-17 Strategic Plan “extend the practice reach of actuaries within data analytics”, the working group has developed a draft Action Plan to establish a data analytics vision statement for the profession, an actuarial community, an engagement plan with  potential employers, as well as short, medium and long-term goals to integrate data analytics with the Institute’s Education and CPD program.

The vision statement currently being considered is:

Actuaries: Using data analytics to deliver trusted insight and commercial strategy

A Data Analytics Seminar – one of the DAWG’s short-term action plan items – is being held on19 October at Institute HQ in Sydney.  Featuring speakers from Facebook and Qantas Loyalty, the program will unpack the future of data analytics, decode the ‘data’ buzz words and explore technical tools ‘data scientists’ are utilising, with the aim of keeping actuaries informed of emerging trends and encouraging their data science capability, especially those early on in their career.

By 2017 we hope to have determined the education approach in this area. This could involve:

  • launching a CPD Framework for Data Analytics that includes a range of Institute / external offerings;
  • discussing with universities options to include studying programming in or alongside actuarial degrees; and
  • investigating a CERA or Part III type specialisation in Data Analytics.

Goal 5 of the Institute’s Strategic Plan sets out a preferred future that, in 2024, we will see substantially expanded career opportunities for the profession in data analytics.

Increasing awareness (within the profession, employers and media) of the opportunities for actuaries in data analytics is a key priority to stimulate opportunities for actuaries in this space.

To this end, the DAWG has laid out a 12-month plan for an Employer Engagement sub-committee to identify and interview  existing and potential employers in order to better understand the need of employers across various industries. Although actuaries can contribute in areas where data analytics is being used, the challenge is to decipher how our skillset best fits now, and the potential impact on our training and ongoing development for that fit into the future.

Get involved in the Data Analytics Community of Actuaries on LinkedIn and stay up to date with all our progress and activities.

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