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Baruch students win CAS Case Competition

Christiaan Colen | flickr

Baruch College students William Huynh and Yuhan Lin are on the winning team of the 2023 Casualty Actuarial Society Case Competition, winning a $250 cash prize.

Lin is a junior majoring in statistics and quantitative modeling, and William Huynh is a sophomore majoring in actuarial science. They are both part of Baruch’s Actuarial Science Society known as BASS.

They both took part in the CAS Student Central Summer Program and competed in the CAS Case Competition on July 31. 

Lin described the CAS Student Central Summer Program to The Ticker: “This program is eight weeks long and for the first six weeks we have weekly modules about pricing, reserving and everything about insurance. Those programs and lectures are more likely to be [about the] practical side of actuaries, and in the last two weeks we have a case competition.” 

The CAS Student Central Summer Program was initially created in 2020 to provide engaging opportunities for university students who were studying actuarial science but couldn’t get internships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program gained popularity and is now recurring each summer. 

Lin shared with The Ticker how the CAS summer program prepared him for a future career in actuarial science.

It set his expectations for the knowledge and skills he should be equipped with to take on an internship, and the program’s tasks proved to differ from the material on the actuarial exams.

“I believe this program benefits me for my future work experience, not for my studies because exams and experience are two separate things to me. And I also found out there are so [many] differences from the exam I started last year and the experience I had this summer… I would say [this is an] essential experience I had to have before I get an internship.” 

The Ticker asked Lin and Huynh what the criteria were for winning the competition, which consisted of proving the validity of their data and communicating their ideas clearly. The Ticker had also asked the winners to describe the situation they were presented with, and how they went about solving the case study. 

Huynh described the case study in detail: “In this data competition, we had a hypothetical data company called D-Mobile… You know, we had some hypothetical default one, which was $599 as a sort of premium phone, and we had to figure out how much we should charge for a warranty that lasted one year on damages for the phone that did not include loss, theft or realistically most things that wouldn’t be very common. So, they were actually generous enough to give us the cost of damage for the most common damages…”

He continued, explaining how the team conducted their research to determine the best possible price for their warranty. “So the main thing we had to do was research other policies to see how much we should put for profit or other fixed expenses, or variable expenses. Use that data to try and figure out how we price our own warranty by calculating the expected loss…And of course, you have to calculate just how likely it is that someone doesn’t break their phone to begin with. Then after that, conduct your survey…” 

The majority of the research on the price of different warranties from different companies was found on the System for Electronic Rate & Form Filing. Because the information on phone warranties is limited, William based his calculations on data from car warranties. From the data he collected and surveys his team conducted, they created business reports and business considerations. 

William explained, “I picked out like four random policies to analyze… And we finally managed to look through the actuarial memorandum fees to find out what they put for their profit ratio, their expenses and other stuff like that.”

The Ticker asked Lin and Huynh to reflect on their experiences and share their final thoughts about the CAS Student Central Summer Program. William expressed that this CAS Case Competition only covers a small sector of the actuarial field, which is calculating probability.

He explains, “You might have noticed that a lot of this competition was based on knowing probability, right? Like what’s the chance of this specific damage happening? What’s the chance of this combination of damages happening? And how do we figure this out, right? Imagine if none of my teammates and me myself knew how to do any of that, like we’d just be done…” 

Yuhan also expressed that you need a specific skillset to excel in these competitions, which is the practical application of your knowledge. “And also, in the first six weeks you will learn more practical things, not concepts or knowledge from class and exams. So, without them it’s really difficult to excel or make it to the case competition.” 

However, the competition winners still believe that CAS’ selection of programs is an enriching experience for aspiring actuaries to prepare them for their future careers.   

Yuhan encouraged all students to check out this summer program. “So if you are interested in actuary, not even committed to this industry, you still can participate in this program to see if you really like this career, because it’s a perfect choice or option for you to see what an actuary actually does every single day.”

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Nicole Bryk
Nicole Bryk, News Editor
Nicole Bryk is the News Editor for The Ticker.
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