A CIA donation with far-reaching impact

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

The CIA’s mission, among its many priorities, is to advance the profession not just at home but also abroad, making international outreach an important component of its work. 

In 2015, the Institute donated C$1,000 to Actuaries Without Borders (AWB), a section of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) that provides volunteers for projects in countries where the actuarial profession is still in the early stages of development. These projects cover all areas of actuarial practice, including life insurance, pensions, property and casualty insurance, health, and many more.

The CIA’s donation was put to good use last year in co-sponsoring the Actuarial Society of Ghana’s “Actuarial Data Analytics Workshop” – an intensive eight-day training opportunity drawing over 25 participants from different practice areas of the profession.

The November 2019 seminar, held in Accra, Ghana, focused on skills-building and was led by Dr. Richard Opoku-Nsiah, AWB volunteer and data scientist.

Richard guided participants through the advanced application of R in the actuarial field. First, participants studied the different stages of a predictive analytics project and exploratory data analysis, specifically, how to use summary statistics and visualization tools to identify and spot issues in data using real-life examples.

Next, participants practiced model building and evaluation in R, learning how to choose the appropriate model to solve a business problem. This continued with a generalized linear model (GLM) concept, with emphasis on continuous response and count models.

Participants completed in-class projects using R to perform data preparation, exploration, and building some GLM models. The seminar wrapped with a focus on cluster analysis. Participants then used real data to conduct customer segmentation analysis with k-means clustering.

“It was an honor to volunteer for AWB in facilitating the workshop to promote the advancement of Ghana’s actuarial profession and embrace the current trends of actuarial data analytics,” says Richard, “I had such a great experience and received positive feedback from the participants.”

Having gained much appreciation for R analytics and the tools introduced throughout the training, participants of the 2019 Actuarial Data Analytics Workshop couldn’t wait for the opportunity to showcase their new expertise in their industry of practice.

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