Actuarial Science students win 2019 Travelers Actuarial Case Competition

Pictured from left to right: Andrew Folkerts, John Ricard, Devin Smith, Abby Groendal, Mercedes Hendricks, and Jacob Sabella.

Six actuarial science students from Drake University recently won the 2019 Travelers Actuarial Case Competition. This marks Drake’s fourth win in this competition since first participating in 2011.

Hosted at the Travelers Insurance offices in St. Paul, Minn., the competition aims to bring together bright young minds to tackle the emerging business issues facing the insurance industry today.

The team was comprised of three sophomores—Andrew Folkerts, Abby Groendal, and John Ricard—and three juniors—Mercedes Hendricks, Jacob Sabella, and Devin Smith. They competed against teams from several Midwestern schools, including University of St. Thomas, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

The Drake students were accompanied by Professors of Actuarial Science Paul Judd and Terri Vaughan.

“Our involvement was in picking the team from a group of applicants, acting as chaperones, and prepping the students ahead of time as best we could,” said Judd. “The students did all the competing.”

Students and faculty were presented with a case at the start of the day. The students from each school were separated into rooms, given laptops and calculators for conducting research, and tasked with producing a visual presentation of their results. As the students worked, faculty advisors were invited to attend a number of different sessions led by Travelers employees throughout the day.

Later that afternoon, the five teams presented their results in front of a panel of judges and fielded questions. Numerous Travelers employees joined the faculty from each school in the audience.

A reception to announce the winners was held after the presentations. The six Drake students will share a $1500 prize for winning first place.

“The actuarial science staff at Drake are thankful to Travelers for hosting this event annually,” said Judd. “This competition is a great learning experience for all the teams participating. We are always proud of our Drake teams regardless of whether they win or not. They do a great job representing our university.”