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Old Mutual Insure chief actuary wins prestigious global award

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25 November 2021: Ronald Richman, chief actuary at Old Mutual Insure, has been awarded the highly acclaimed Brian Hey prize 2021 for actuarial research in the short-term insurance market. Presented by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) in the UK, this is an international actuarial research award given to the best short term insurance papers every year.

Richman’s paper on deep learning models – which he wrote together with renowned Swiss actuary Mario Wüthrich – saw the duo come out tops in this year’s battle for the prize, beating entries submitted from across the globe.

“Deep learning models often are accurate but hard to interpret. Our new method is very accurate but is still explainable to customers, regulators and other stakeholders, ensuring that we understand how and why decisions are being made,” says Richman, adding that the new deep learning model is applied to short-term insurance pricing in the award-winning paper.

Some of the criteria for evaluation included technical content, innovation, readability, and industry-wide appeal.

“As this is a very topical and relevant subject, I hope it inspires industry wide discussions between general insurance actuaries, other actuarial professionals, as well as underwriters, claims handlers and so on,” he says.