Drake University actuarial students are first US student team to win international case competition

A team of five students in Drake University’s College of Business and Public Administration took first place in the Society of Actuaries Student Research Case Study Challenge, an international competition that involved 63 teams of actuarial students from colleges and universities worldwide. It is the first time a team from the United States has won the competition.

The Drake student team, made up of seniors Marina Bireley, Phil Copeland, Xinyi Liu, Amanda Shelton, and Scott St. Onge, were awarded a grant of $5,000 for Drake University, as well as cash awards of $500 for each student.

The competition challenged students to design an automobile insurance product for autonomous vehicles. Over the course of an eight-week timeframe, students were required to build assumptions, conduct actuarial analysis, formulate solutions, and present their recommendations to a panel of judges.

“The students did a terrific job,” said Terri Vaughan, Drake University Robb B. Kelley Visiting Distinguished Professor in Insurance and Actuarial Science and faculty advisor to the team. “The competition illustrated the sort of unstructured problems our graduates will encounter in their careers. It required them to apply what they have learned in a variety of areas—actuarial science, data analytics, strategy, and communication. I am pleased that their Drake education has given them a foundation for success.”  

The Drake team’s first-place entry highlighted a variety of new policyholder behaviors, cybersecurity risks and changes in vehicle-miles exposures that would emerge with the implementation on autonomous vehicles for personal use, and in commercial ridesharing services. The team created adoption timelines for autonomous vehicle usage and how pure premium would develop across coverages for the insurance company highlighted in the case study.

“I am immensely proud of our team and the winning proposal we gave to the Society of Actuaries,” said team member and actuarial science major St. Onge. “We are honored to be the first Drake team to place in the competition and the first team from the United States to win. This was a great opportunity for us to apply the skills and knowledge we have gained at Drake to a real-world situation.”

Students from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received second place with a $3,000 grant. Students from Arizona State University and Lisbon School of Economics and Management tied for third place, each receiving a $2,000 grant.

Drake University’s School of Actuarial Science and Risk Management is one of 16 universities in the United States to be recognized as a Center of Actuarial Excellence, a prestigious designation awarded by the Society of Actuaries. In addition, Drake is one of 17 schools in the United States named a Global Center of Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society.

For more information about actuarial science at Drake, visit https://www.drake.edu/actsci/or email actuarial.science@drake.edu.