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Enhancing Your Skills in Actuarial Data Science

The scope of the actuarial profession and the areas in which actuaries work been changed continuously. One of the main developing fields in recen tyears has been Data Science.
Written on 03/23/23

written by Henning Wergen
chairperson of the AAE Education Committee and member of the DAV's Education Committee

Modern statistical methods, like neural networks or deep learning, have found their way into actuarial practice and are nowadays used in almost every area. Many experts with profound knowledge of applying data science methods have entered the industry.

It is clear that actuaries with their proven expertise in working with data, need to include this still evolving field into their skill set.

Some years ago the European umbrella organisation Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) implemented the module “data and systems” into its Core Syllabus for Actuarial Training in Europe. All national member associations are required to meet these minimum requirements by covering this in their local education programs. Topics like data analysis, statistical learning or professional and risk management issues show the importance of a profound understanding.

The growing importance of data science applications is supported by many different qualification programs that offer hands-on experience and skills. Of course, there are many general offerings, but many actuarial associations offer specific certificate and credential for actuaries in data science. Universities and other educational institutions offer many dedicated courses, mainly on specific use cases for direct implementation.

Individual actuaries can and should therefore decide for themselves how to best develop and expand their knowledge and skill set.

This general idea is also supported by the AAE, where a Task Force is currently working on setting up an up-to-date Data Science syllabus for CPD purposes. The aim is to support national actuarial associations in providing courses and seminars for their members in the field of data science. An important focus will be on the professional and ethical use of big data, data science methods and AI by actuaries. This initiative by the AAE is very important to support individual actuaries in preparing for the future in traditional fields such as insurance and pensions but also beyond.

In addition to these supranational activities, national associations have been offering specific programs for some time now. One of the most recognized offerings is the “Certified Actuarial Data Scientist” credential (CADS) by the German Association of Actuaries, DAV. The program is composed of separate modules: ADS Basic, ADS Advanced, ADS Immersion and ADS Completion. The courses cover all relevant aspects of the subject area as well as areas like data management, data ethics, data analytics. CADS have proven skills in coding and have gained their expertise through complex case studies. Since it started in 2021, the credential for actuaries has established itself as a high-quality qualification within the insurance industry.

With specialized programs like these, actuaries can adapt their natural talents to the growing field of Data Science and can play a major part in future developments that will affect the insurance and finance industries deeply.