Almost 200 actuarial scientists from around the world attended the recent 22nd International Congress on Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (IME 2018) hosted by UNSW Business School.

The prestigious annual event is one of the largest international meeting series in actuarial science and brings together researchers and practitioners interested in the latest developments in the field to collaborate and learn from each other. Attendees travelled to Sydney from countries as far afield as Belgium, USA, Italy, China, South Korea and Iran.

IME2018 is associated with the leading actuarial science journal, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics. The first congress was held in 1997 in Amsterdam, Netherlands and since then has been held annually in different locations around the globe.

Professor Chris Styles, Dean of UNSW Business School, said in his opening address: "I am very pleased that the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies was able to host this congress. They have been quite keen for some time and it's a fantastic honour."

In total, there were more than 150 talks on subjects such as pricing annuities, reinsurance, dependence modelling, health insurance, portfolio management, mortality forecasting and risk theory.

Highlights included plenary talks by Annamaria Olivieri (Professor of Mathematical Methods for Economics, Actuarial Science and Finance at the University of Parma in Italy), Sheldon Ross (Epstein Chair Professor in the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California) and Roger Laeven (Full Professor, Chair of Risk and Insurance, at the Department of Quantitative Economics, University of Amsterdam).

The congress also paid tribute to the late Marc Goovaerts, one of the founding fathers of IME and former Professor of Actuarial Science at the KU Leuven in Belgium and the University of Amsterdam in Netherlands. Goovaerts passed away at the age of 71 in February 2018 and a number of people who knew him well – including Jan Dhaene, Rob Kaas, Arnold Shapiro, Hans Gerber, and (UNSW SHARP Professor) Qihe Tang -  explained his valuable legacy to the actuarial community and what it meant to be his colleague and friend.

More than 50 presentations were made during the three-day event by current PhD students from around the world, with a US$1,000 prize on offer for the Best Paper Presentation, sponsored by Risks journal.

It was won by Roel Henckaerts from KU Leuven in Belgium for his presentation on 'Tree-based Machine Learning for Insurance Pricing'.

Bernard Wong, the chair of the IME2018 organising committee and Head of School (Risk and Actuarial Studies) at UNSW Business School, said:

"The IME Congress is the most important conference in the field of actuarial studies, and the school is honoured to have been the host of this event. A particular highlight to me was the presentations in honour of Marc – it was very inspirational and illustrates the level and type of contributions we can all strive to achieve."

IME2019 will be held at the TUM (Technical University of Munich) in Germany from July 10-12.