Confirmed Speakers

Tom Edwalds is a clinical professor of finance and the executive director of the Fred Arditti Center for Risk Management at DePaul. He came to DePaul in 2014 with 36 years of diverse and substantive experience in the insurance industry. He previously held the position of assistant vice president for Biometric Research for Munich Re. Prior to joining Munich Re in 2001, Tom spent seven years as the senior research actuary for the Society of Actuaries. Previous positions include actuarial valuation manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and actuarial software developer for PolySystems. He began his career at CNA where he gained experience with commercial liability, workers comp, and private passenger auto insurance. He is a recognized leader in the actuarial profession, currently serving on Society of Actuaries committees including the Committee on Life Insurance Research, the Committee on Living to 100 Research Symposia, the 2015 Valuation Basic Table Development Team, the Reinsurance Section Research Team, the Education and Research Section Council, the Research Communications Oversight Group, and the Committee on Knowledge Extension Research. He is also the president of the Chicago Actuarial Association. He was recognized for a decade of leadership in Society of Actuaries research initiatives with an Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2011. Tom’s research interests and expertise include mortality risk, longevity risk, and extreme event risk. He holds both BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

KEN WILLIAMS is currently the Staff Actuary of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a leading international organization for credentialing and professional education of actuaries. Founded in 1914, the CAS is the world’s only actuarial organization focused exclusively on property and casualty risks and serves over 8,000 members worldwide.

Ken recently joined the Casualty Actuary Society after 26 years with COUNTRY Financial Insurance Company.  In his capacity as an Actuarial Manager in the pricing area, Ken led a team that drove extensive growth in Commercial and Agribusiness products in both the number of clients written, and the overall profitability of the segment.  Ken also worked in other many other actuarial practice areas, including personal lines insurance pricing, loss reserve analysis, budgeting and enterprise risk management.

Prior to being an Actuarial manger, Ken rose through the ranks of the COUNTRY Financial Actuarial department from an Actuarial Trainee to a Senior Associate Actuary.

In addition to his work at COUNTRY Financial, he has been a lecturer in the Math department at Illinois State University for 17 years.  Instructing future Actuaries in the subject of loss distributions, Markov Chains, life contingent payment models, basic applications of property / casualty ratemaking, and basic applications of property / casualty reserving.  He has also served on the university’s Actuarial Advisory Board.

Ken holds a BS in Actuarial Science from Purdue University.  He is both a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS), and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA).  Ken has served on several industry boards, including chairperson of the Illinois Assigned Risk Plan Governing Board, chairperson of the Casualty Actuarial Societies’ Candidate Liaison Committee and the Professional Education Committee, member of the Casualty Actuarial Societies’ Exam Committee, as well a member of the National Crop Insurance Services Actuarial and Statistical Subcommittee.

 

dr. Servaas van Bilsen is an assistant professor of Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance at the University of Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD degree at Tilburg University in 2015. Part of his PhD was completed at the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School) and the University of New South Wales. Servaas' research interests include behavorial finance, pension economics and finance, and optimal insurance design. He has made significant contributions to the Dutch pension policy discussions.

Websitehttp://www.uva.nl/en/profile/b/i/s.vanbilsen/s.vanbilsen.html

 

Professor Jeffrey R. Brown is Josef and Margot Lakonishok Professor of Business and Dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also serves as Co-Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Retirement and Disability Research Center in Cambridge, MA.  Dean Brown holds a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a masters of public policy degree from Harvard University, and bachelor's degrees in economics and political science from Miami University. He is a research associate of NBER, a faculty affiliate of the Institute on Government and Policy Affairs, and a fellow of the TIAA Institute. Brown serves as a trustee for TIAA, a Fortune 100 financial services company, and currently chairs the TIAA investment committee. He is also a member of the Governing Board for the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) in Washington, DC.  He is also a member of the advisory board for the Tax Policy Center, a joint initiative of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. Brown has published over 50 academic articles and has edited four books, the most recent of which explores how the Great Recession affected higher education. He is a co-founder and former co-editor of The Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and an associate editor of The Journal of Risk and Insurance. He has served as a consultant to numerous federal government agencies as well as many of the leading US financial services firms. Prior to graduate school, he was a brand manager at the Procter & Gamble Company.

Websitehttps://www.business.illinois.edu/jbrown/

 

dr. Jan De Spiegeleer holds a Master degree in Civil Engineering (Royal Military Academy), a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA- KU Leuven), a Master degree in Financial Management (Vlekho) and a Ph.D in Mathematics (KU Leuven). He obtained his PhD thesis at KU Leuven under the supervision of Professor Wim Schoutens. Currently he combines a role as visiting professor at the Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics (KU Leuven) with a responsibility as managing director of RiskConcile, a FinTech company with roots in KU Leuven. Before his academic career and after having served in the Belgian army as an officer, he was managing director at KBC Financial products (1994/2005 Brussels-London). After his career as a trader, he became the head of risk management at Jabre Capital Partners, a Geneva based hedge fund specialized in convertible bonds (2006/2015).

His current research interest is focused on the application of deep-and machine learning into finance. More in particular in the domain of derivatives pricing, liquidity metrics and portfolio optimization. In this context, he is the organizer of the yearly data-mining competition across KU Leuven university inviting Master and PhD students to compete on a vast amount of data.

Websitehttps://www.riskconcile.com/about-us/

Professor Arthur Charpentier, <https://twitter.com/@freakonometrics>  PhD from KU Leuven (Belgium), is professor at the Mathematics department at UQAM, Montreal (Canada) and Fellow of the French Institute of Actuaries. Member of the editorial board of the ASTIN Bulletin (The Journal of the International Actuarial Association), author of several research articles, he published Computational Actuarial Science with R (CRC, 2014). Former director of the Data Science for Actuaries program of the French Institute of Actuaries, he will animated the International Summer School of the Swiss Association of Actuaries in August, on “Insurance Data Science: Use and Value of Unusual Data”.

Website: https://freakonometrics.github.io/index.html

 

Mr. Duncan is Adjunct Professor of Actuarial Statistics at the University of California Santa Barbara and president of Santa Barbara Actuaries Inc., a provider of healthcare predictive modeling and actuarial services.  Mr. Duncan holds a graduate degree in economics from Balliol College, Oxford and is a post-graduate research student at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, the Institute of Actuaries, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, a Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics (CAS) and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.    He is active in public policy and healthcare reform, and served on the board of directors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Authority from 2007-2014.  He was also a member of the board of the Society of Actuaries (2012-5). He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed papers, and several books and book chapters.  His latest book, a second edition of “Healthcare Risk Adjustment and Predictive Modeling” (Actex Publications) was published in May 2018.   

Websitehttp://www.pstat.ucsb.edu/people/ian-duncan

Dr. Runhuan Feng, is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Director of Actuarial Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst. He is the State Farm Companies Foundation Scholar in Actuarial Science. Over the recent years, he has dedicated his efforts to developing computational methods for risk assessment and management in areas of investment combined insurance and retirement planning. Runhuan has published extensively on computational techniques of risk assessment and management of investment-combined insurance and retirement planning products. He led the Society of Actuaries' first survey on nested stochastic modeling for insurance companies and performed subsequent research study to create resources for financial reporting actuaries on computational methods to speed up nested simulations. Runhuan also has keen interest on risk analysis and data analytics for regulation and public policy making. His work in collaboration with State Universities Annuitants Association and a state legislator led to a legislative proposal in the Illinois General Assembly to address the underfunding issue of the Illinois retirement systems.

Websitehttps://faculty.math.illinois.edu/~rfeng/

Professor Edward W. (Jed) Frees is an emeritus professor affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he served as the Hickman Larson Chair of Actuarial Science. He received his Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Fellow of both the Society of Actuaries (SoA) and the American Statistical Association (the only Fellow of both organizations). Professor Frees has provided extensive service to the profession, including serving as a member of the SoA Board of Directors, a Trustee of the Actuarial Foundation, the Editor of the North American Actuarial Journal, and the Social Security Advisory Board’s Technical Panel on Methods and Assumptions.

Websitehttps://sites.google.com/a/wisc.edu/jed-frees/

Lynne McChristian joined the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in January 2019 as a senior instructor and director of the Office of Risk Management & Insurance Research. From August 2015 to December 2018, she was on the faculty at Florida State University and served as executive director of FSU’s Center for Risk Management Education & Research.

Since 2008, McChristian has served as a consultant for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group focused on insurance education. As the organization’s Florida representative, she was also director of disaster response and a media spokesperson. In her current role, she is a non-resident scholar providing strategic direction for the I.I.I.’s initiatives related to industry talent recruitment and research projects, helps manage industry participation in key conferences, assists in the development of communication materials and is a contributor to the I.I.I.’s blog.

McChristian’s corporate career includes more than 14 years working in the Florida office of USAA, the highly-regarded insurance and financial services company that primarily serves members of the U.S. military and their families. At USAA, she was responsible for internal and external communication, including strategic communication planning and media relations. Prior to joining USAA, she was a public relations manager for a Florida-based workers compensation insurance company, a visiting professor of mass communication at the University of South Florida and a marketing specialist for USAA Life Insurance Company in San Antonio, Texas. McChristian also has worked in real estate marketing, public relations and in television news. Additionally, she has taught at San Antonio College and St. Mary's University, both in Texas.

McChristian has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Marquette University and a master's degree in mass communication from the University of Arkansas. She earned a professional accreditation designation from the International Association of Business Communicators (ABC) and an associate's designation in management (AIM) from the Insurance Institute of America.

Websitehttps://business.illinois.edu/profile/lynne-mcchristian/

Professor David Saunders is an Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, and the Director of the Master of Quantitative Finance program at the University of Waterloo. He is the author of many articles on the subjects of risk management, portfolio optimization and derivatives pricing, and regularly serves as a consultant in the financial industry. Dr. Saunders holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Toronto.

Websitehttps://uwaterloo.ca/statistics-and-actuarial-science/people-profiles/david-saunders

Mark Vonnahme is the Director, MS in Finance Program and Fox Family Clinical Professor in Finance. In addition to the administrative and academic responsibilities of the MS program, Vonnahme will teach courses in Corporate Finance and Enterprise Risk Management. Vonnahme was Executive Vice President of the Arch Insurance Group’s surety operation from August 2007 until taking on his new position at UIUC in 2010. Prior to his time with Arch, Vonnahme was the Fox Family Distinguished Clinical Professor on the faculty in the Department of Finance, College of Business at UIUC. He joined the university in the spring of 2004 after a thirty-one year career in the property casualty and surety business.  His teaching interests while at the university included Corporate Finance, Enterprise Risk Management, Risk Management and Insurance as well as Corporate Governance and Leadership. In addition, he served as co-director of the Office of Risk Management and Insurance Research working with members of the university faculty and corporate partners in addressing current issues related to insurance, financial services, and risk management. Mr. Vonnahme started his business career with CNA in the Surety Division in 1972 after obtaining a graduate degree in finance.  He held a variety of underwriting and marketing positions in the home office and was promoted to territorial underwriting officer in 1979. Vonnahme was appointed assistant vice president of surety in 1991 and vice president of surety in 1993 before being named group vice president and chief operating officer of the Surety Business Unit in June 1993. After CNA’s acquisition of Continental Insurance in 1995, he served as the president and chief executive office of the combined surety operations until the formation of CNA Surety Corporation in 1996 as the largest publicly traded Surety Company in the industry. He served as the President and CEO of the company until his retirement in 2003. Mr. Vonnahme is a certified public accountant, a member of the Illinois CPA Society and a past chair of the organization’s Construction Accounting Committee. He has served on the board of directors of CNA Surety Corporation, and DeMontfort Insurance PLC, a UK based insurance and bonding company. Vonnahme is a past chairman of the board of directors of the Surety Association of America and has served on the American Insurance Association’s Fidelity and Surety Committee as well as on the Surety Information Office Policy Board. He recently completed a three-year term as the first non-FCAS member of the Board of Directors of the Casualty Actuarial Society. He currently serves on an AICPA/FAF/NASBA  “ Blue Ribbon Panel ” on Standard Setting for Private Companies.

Websitehttps://business.illinois.edu/profile/mark-vonnahme/