Arcadia Chosen to Develop Case Study for International Challenge

By Caitlin Burns | February 15, 2021

By Katherine Haines ’21

Arcadia University is one of the institutions The Society of Actuaries (SOA) has coordinated with to develop the case study for the 2021 SOA Case Challenge, which is an eight-week international competition where student teams research, analyze, and present solutions to a specific case challenge. 

Four teams collaborated to develop this year’s study: Ideas Team, Case Study Development Team, Data Compilation Team, and Judging Team, which were each made up of 10 to 15 actuarial professionals. Dr. Irina Pogrebivsky, assistant professor and director of the actuarial science program, was asked to head the Case Study Development team on behalf of Arcadia.

This opportunity came from a project that the head of the case challenge collaborated with an Arcadia Actuarial Science capstone group, which was subsequently published several years ago. As a result of that collaboration, SOA asked Dr. Pogrebivsky to participate in the development of this year’s case study, which is based on the concept of Parametric Insurance.

“Parametric insurance actually doesn’t require incurring a loss to make a claims payment, the payment is triggered when a specific metric hits a certain breakpoint so it’s much more streamlined, it doesn’t require underwriting,” said Pogrebivsky. “An example of parametric insurance is crop insurance which pays farmers when their geographic area gets more than, for example ‘X’ centimeters of rain within a certain amount of hours. So, that’s a metric which hits a breakpoint and there is an economic loss that’s incurred by the farmers but the payment is not not based on that loss, it’s based on the trigger of the metric itself.” 

Last year, Arcadia’s team was a finalist in this international competition. Advisor Weihong Ni, assistant professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, will oversee two teams this year in the competition, with submissions due by Friday, March 12. Final presentations by the top submissions will be conducted in April. Dr. Pogrebivsky said that her involvement with developing the case study will not interfere with Arcadia’s teams, only that she cannot advise them or judge their submissions.