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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

2020 Actuarial Research Conference

August 10-12, 2020 / Advancing Actuarial Leaders

Actuarial Research
Virtual Conference

Call for Presentations and Posters
Registration Important Dates
ARC Conference

Make your research matter by attending the 2020 Actuarial Research Conference hosted online by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the summer of 2020. If you want your work to make a difference plan to attend from August 10-12. Learn, share and have fun with colleagues who want to make a positive impact in the world – just like you!

Important Dates

Presentation Submission Deadline: June 30, 2020 with response by July 7, 2020

All presenters must register for the conference by July 15, 2020, otherwise their presentation will be excluded from the conference schedule.

Call for Presentations and Posters Registration

Keynote Speakers

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Presentation: The COVID-19 Pandemic: Updates and a Perspective

Dr. Osterholm will describe the epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection, describe the current status of COVID-19 in Minnesota, and describe what public health strategies can be used to reduce COVID-19 disease.

Dr. Osterholm is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. He is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council of Foreign Relations. In June 2005 Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. In July 2008, he was named to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center’s Academy of Excellence in Health Research. In October 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics.

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Jeff Johnson, FSA, MAAA, Actuary, John Hancock Life Insurance Company

Presentation: The Voluntary D.I.E.T. - How to gain more than you lose and still feel great.

Jeff Johnson, Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, is one of IABA's founding members and has served the organization on its board of directors and as president twice. Currently Jeff is an officer at John Hancock Life Insurance Company where he is responsible for Life and Annuity product solvency issue identification, holistic understanding, solutioneering, education, escalation and advocacy. His primary focus is on actuarial aspects of regulatory activity concerning reserves, capital, reinsurance or governance using NAIC, federal and international lenses. Prior to joining John Hancock Life Insurance Company Jeff accumulated experience working for several fortune 500 companies in the areas of pricing, reserving, valuation and risk management. Jeff currently sits on the board of The Actuarial Foundation, and is vice-Chair of the American Council of Life Insurers Actuarial Committee. He is also a former board member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He enjoys golfing, reading, and grand parenting with his wife Adrienne.

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Amy Kessler, Senior Vice President, Prudential Financial

Presentation: Longevity Risk and Covid-19: A Model for the Future

Nearly 200 years after Benjamin Gompertz published his landmark paper on human mortality, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has once again proven the Gompertz law of mortality, while devastating communities and economies around the world. The Covid-19 pandemic also has significant implications for pension funds, insurance companies and actuaries who model and measure longevity risk in the global pension risk transfer market. In a crucial body of work that examined how Covid-19 may affect the future of mortality rates at higher ages, Amy Kessler together with Professor Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh) and Professor David Blake (Cass Business School, London) developed a new model that will help pension funds and insurers properly assess liabilities in a post-pandemic world. In this presentation, Amy will provide a deep-dive into this exciting new research and address three important questions:

• How is Covid-19 impacting mortality among elderly populations?
• Will Covid-19 change the way actuaries measure liabilities?
• How is the current crisis impacting pension funds and the market for pension risk transfer?

Amy Kessler is senior vice president and head of Longevity Risk Transfer within Prudential’s Pension Risk Transfer business. In 2011, she led Prudential's launch of its longevity reinsurance product and, together with her exceptional team, has closed over $80 billion in international reinsurance transactions since, covering members of hundreds of pension funds in the United Kingdom, including British Airways and Rolls-Royce. Amy led the ground-breaking $28 billion captive longevity reinsurance transaction for British Telecom in 2014, which was named “Deal of the Year” by Risk magazine and earned Prudential top honors as “Reinsurer of the Year.” Amy’s work helps pension funds proactively manage longevity risk and create retirement security for their members. She was chosen as one of the “2014 Women to Watch” by Business Insurance magazine, and she was named to Institutional Investor’s “Pension 40” list—a ranking of the 40 most influential people in pensions—in both 2014 and 2015.

With 30 years of financial services experience, Amy’s capital markets expertise and in-depth insight into the innovative pension risk transfer transactions occurring globally make her a frequent speaker at conferences around the globe. She is currently leading the launch of Prudential’s longevity reinsurance solutions for Canada and the Netherlands. Before joining Prudential, Amy served as a principal at Bear Stearns and as Global Head of Pension ALM at Swiss Re in London.

Amy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and a Master’s Degree in international economics and finance from Brandeis University, where she is a Member of the Board of Overseers of the International Business School and the 2013 recipient of the Dean’s Medal.

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Special Invited Sessions

We planned several special invited sessions around the topics listed below.

We will adopt three different formats for these special invited sessions (SISs): the traditional format, the round-table format, and the debate format. Under the traditional format, each 75-minute session has 3 (4) presentations. Each presenter will have up to 20 (15) minutes to present their research. There is no time reserved for Q&A after each presentation; however, there will be 15 minutes of Q&A after the last presentation of the session. The round-table sessions are intended to be informal discussions. Each 75-minute session will have at least three panelists and a moderator. Each panelist will have up 5 to 7 minutes to initially present her research or her ideas. Panelists are required to observe their allotted time as a courtesy to the other panelists, the session moderator, and the online audience. After each panelist has given her initial presentation, the moderator will open the panel to Q&A: first from the moderator, then questions from attendees. There will be at least 15 minutes of Q&A from the attendees. Finally, there is a debate format, which is similar to the round-table format: it lasts for 75 minutes, but there will be two teams engaging in a spirited debate.

View Sessions on Conference Agenda


Platinum Sponsor
Gold Sponsor
Casualty Actuarial Society
Silver Sponsor


Bronze Sponsors
Ameritas NAC

Student Presentation Awards

1st Place: Jesus-Adrian Alvarez
Affiliation: University of Southern Denmark
Title of paper: Unravelling the Contribution of Financial and Longevity Risks to Changes Over Time in Life Annuities

2nd Place: Jessica Dang
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Title of paper: Green Nested Simulation of Variable Annuities

3rd Place: Salvatory Kessy
Affiliation: University of New South Wales
Title of paper: Stacked Regression Ensemble Learning for Mortality Forecasting

ARC Attendee Virtual Gift Bag

Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA): Receive a discount code for 10% off the registration fee for the virtual annual conference, act20, from November 3-18, 2020.
Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA)

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Society of Actuaries Special Interest Sections have provided a Zoom background.
Society of Actuaries

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ARC 2020 Zoom backgrounds provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Incredible Student Workers

Stefan Kang (co-leader)
Senior, Economics and Actuarial Science

Li-Jing Li (co-leader)
Graduate Student, Actuarial Science

Noelle Mware
Graduate Student, Civil Engineering

Doris Kedou Ngabgna
Junior, Actuarial Science

Justin Niyongabo
Junior, Integrated Science

XueYao Qi (co-leader)
Senior, Actuarial Science and Finance

Matthew Ringler
Senior, Actuarial Science

Siok Ann Siek
Senior, Actuarial Science

Terence Tang (co-leader)
Graduate Student, Actuarial Science

Vu Nhat Nguyen Tran
Junior, Actuarial Science

Xueqiang Wang
Senior, Finance

Jing Weng
Senior, Accounting

Xuan Wu
Sophomore, Actuarial Science

Bo Yang
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Liming Zheng
Senior, Finance


Scientific Committee

Rhonda Ahrens
Nebraska Department of Insurance

Luis Arcila

Katherine Baez
Barna Management School / EA Consultants / ALAS

Ida Ferrara
York University

Edward Furman
York University and Risk and Insurance Studies Centre

Noel Harewood
Ameritas Life Insurance Corp

Mary Hegemann
Wakely Consulting

Petar Jevtic
Arizona State University

Steven Konnath
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

Yijia Lin
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Graham Liu
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Roy Machamire
Kaiser Permanente

Mostafa Mashayekhi
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Eric Ofosu-Hene
De Montfort University

Victor Oguledo
Florida A&M University

Denise Olson
Zurich North America

Colin Ramsay
Chair, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

John Robinson
Life Insurance Regulator, Minnesota

Max Rudolph
Rudolph Financial Consulting, LLC

Gopi Shah Goda
Stanford University

Ronnie Tan
Great Eastern

Sue Vagts
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Darryl Wagner

Cindy Xu
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Shengchao Zhuang
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Organizing Committee

Yijia Lin
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Denise Olson
Zurich North America

Colin Ramsay
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Sue Vagts
Chair, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Shengchao Zhuang
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Operations Committee

Emily Bergen
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Amanda Colborn
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Sheri Irwin-Gish
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Kathy Mellick
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Laura Niles
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Davis Podany
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Kimberly Smith
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Sue Vagts
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Shengchao Zhuang
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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