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University of Wisconsin Risk and Insurance Department Recognized for Excellence

by Rob Kelly Monday, August 3, 2015
Recognized worldwide as an academic leader in the field, the Risk and Insurance Department at the Wisconsin School of Business received two recent honors that reflect its commitment to research excellence and thought leadership.

First, the entire department has been recognized once again as a national Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), a designation that requires a rigorous review process every five years. A founding CAE member, the Risk and Insurance department first received this designation in 2009.

“There is real value in being a CAE-designated school and we are grateful to have once again met the high standards of the Society of Actuaries,” says Joan Schmit, professor and chair of the Risk and Insurance Department. “It allows us to recruit high-quality students, to partner with top employers who want to hire our graduates, and to support the development of new research and innovative programs.”

grainger hall uw–madison wisconsin school of business

Only 26 colleges and universities in the world have received the CAE designation, signifying they have met the SOA’s high standards after an evaluation comprised of the following:

  • Review of degree programs, curriculum, graduate count, and faculty composition
  • Evaluation of graduate quality, appropriate integration, connection to industry, and research/scholarship
  • A site visit involving complete interviews and meetings with CAE committee members and SOA staff

For more about the Center of Actuarial Excellence designation, see the SOA’s website.

In addition to the departmental honor, Jed Frees, the Hickman/Larson Chair in Actuarial Science, received the American Risk and Insurance Association’s Casualty Actuarial Society Award for his research on insurance pricing.

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Jed Frees, Professor of Risk and Insurance at the Wisconsin School of Business

The prize is awarded to the author of a paper published in the preceding year by the American Risk and Insurance Association that provides the “most valuable contribution to casualty actuarial science.”

The award is for Frees’ paper “Insurance Ratemaking and a Gini Index,” which provides an evaluation tool for understanding pricing models in insurance by offering insights not available from classical measures of association between losses and premiums.

“This paper was the result of a very nice partnership between private industry and academia,” Frees says.

The Insurance Services Office, a major data gathering organization that serves the general non-life insurance industry, had been using a model to help clients set insurance prices, but nobody knew why this model worked. Frees evaluated the mathematical details within the model. “Now we have a better understanding of why it works, so it will be used even more,” he says.

For more on this topic read the full paper in the Journal of Risk and Insurance.