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James Guszcza

Guszcza: Calculating Longevity Using All the Details

by Staff Monday, February 13, 2012

Actuaries have been working to determine human longevity since 1583 when the first life insurance policy was issued, according to a Smart Money magazine article on “The Cost of Living Longer – Much Longer.”

“Don't worry about the macro factors in health care, but rather a million little things. Throw data point after data point into a giant algorithm and the longevity answer will be spit out,” Assistant Professor of Actuarial Science James Guszcza told the magazine.

Guszcza, a Deloitte actuary, who got his start working in the property and casualty side of the insurance industry, has been working on predictive analytics with three colleagues from Deloitte such as what you buy and how you spend your free time to calculate longevity. "Individuals who order a deluxe cable package and simultaneously pursue few sporting or exercise activities are more likely to live sedentary lifestyles and ultimately suffer a higher incidence of various lifestyle-based diseases," says Guszcza . “Medical markers can have their place in the equation too -- TV viewing habits, he says, ought to be weighed alongside blood cholesterol levels -- but the idea remains the same: to refine mortality estimates with an ever-increasing pool of data.”

"It's not like throwing a lot of data into an algorithm, pressing a button and saying this will work," says Guszcza.

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