CASS Presenters/Panelists/Actuarial Mentors

Michael Adams ASA, MAAA, Class of 2012

Michael Adams graduated from UCSB in 2012 and worked as an actuarial analyst at Milliman in San Diego. There, he did pricing and reserving as well as several other ad hoc actuarial analyses to support the consultants. Today he works at Odyssey Re, a reinsurance company in the NYC metro area. There, he underwrites reinsurance treaties in the accident and health space. His work includes pricing excess of loss and aggregate covers, structuring non-standard reinsurance deals, and dictating underwriting guidelines for Odyssey Re's managing general underwriters (MGUs). He also focuses on cultivating new business and managing current accounts.

Jorge Alvidrez ASA, MAAA, MBA

Jorge Alvidrez is an independent health actuary and consultant with more than 20 years of experience consulting to employer groups on their health and welfare benefit programs. Prior to starting his own consulting practice, he was Vice President and Consulting Actuary at Aon Hewitt for 8 years. In that time he provided health care consulting expertise to clients ranging from school districts and local governments to multi-state corporations. Since 2010, Jorge has also provided the consulting and modeling needed by clients to determine the financial and risk impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Jorge has broad experience working with both active and retiree benefit programs and has conducted training sessions on health care reform and retiree benefit issues. He has spoken at national conferences for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the Society of Actuaries.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Benjamin Bang President of UC Berkeley's Cal Actuarial League

Benjamin Bang is a graduating senior at UC Berkeley and current President and past Internal Vice President of UC Berkeley's only actuarial club, Cal Actuarial League (CAL). He will be graduating in May with B.A.'s in Statistics and Economics and will be joining a tech-based healthcare startup, Clover Health as an actuarial analyst in July. After serving two years in the Korean Army, he returned to Berkeley in 2013 and has interned at SF Willis Towers Watson office as a retirement intern over the past summer.

Nicole Bazak Class of 2015

Nicole graduated from UCSB with her bachelors in actuarial science in December 2014. During her time at UCSB, Nicole was an active member of the Actuarial Association, serving as the webmaster her third year. Since graduating, Nicole has been working as an Actuarial Analyst at L.A. Care Health Plan. She has experience working on reserves, budgeting, rate development, contracting, and financial reporting. She is currently working towards completing the requirements to become an Associate of the Society of Actuary.

Melissa Carruthers FSA, FCIA

Melissa is a Senior Consultant at Deloitte in their Canadian Actuarial, Rewards and Analytics practice. She has over six years of actuarial experience working in both the direct life and reinsurance industries. Since joining Deloitte, her focus has been on Life and Health insurance business transformation and modernization through the application of advanced analytics.

Melissa currently serves as treasurer of the SOA's Actuary of the Future section council and is a frequent speaker at industry functions, presenting on topics such as the evolving role of an actuary with the introduction of emerging technologies and predictive analytics.

Melissa earned a Bachelor of Mathematics with a Major in Actuarial Science and Minor in Statistics from the University of Waterloo. She is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Mason DeLalla Class of 2016

Mason graduated from the UCSB Actuarial Science program in 2016. He was a recipient of the 2016 Rama Thogarati award. Since graduation, he has been working full time as an Actuarial Analyst at L.A. Care Health Plan, gaining experience in Reserving and Healthcare Analytics, primarily in the Medi-Cal field.

Dang Dinh Class of 2015

Dang graduated from the UCSB Actuarial Science program in 2015. He served as the treasurer of the Actuarial Association in his senior year. Since graduation, he has been working as an actuarial analyst for Medicare at Anthem Blue Cross. He has experience working on product development, risk adjustment, and bid preparation for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans, specializing in the Rx development.

Ian Duncan

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 services. From 2010 to 2014 he served as Vice President, Clinical Outcomes, Analytics and Reporting at the Walgreens Company. He founded Solucia Consulting (now SCIO Health Analytics), a provider of analytical and consulting services to the healthcare financing industry in 1998. 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, 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 (2012-2015). Since 2011 he has been a Professor in the Department of Statistics & Applied Probability at UCSB, where he teaches courses in financial mathematics and life contingencies and a graduate seminar in actuarial research. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed papers, and several books and book chapters. His last book, a second edition of "Managing and Evaluating Healthcare Intervention Programs" (Actex Publications) was published in January 2014.

Janet Duncan

Janet Duncan is an actuarial lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she teaches an introduction to Property Casualty Insurance and a graduate research seminar in Actuarial Science. She has over 25 years of property/casualty financial analysis experience, including commercial and personal lines reserving and pricing, financial and capital modeling, planning, and management reporting. Janet's work experience includes six years as CNA's senior vice president and signing actuary, responsible for $17 billion of property/casualty reserves, including standard commercial lines, specialty lines, and discontinued operations. Prior to CNA, Janet worked at XL Capital, serving in roles of increasing responsibility including executive vice president and chief finance officer of XL Insurance Europe and Asia. She also worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (consulting and audit support), and served in various actuarial roles with Aetna Life & Casualty where she began her insurance career. Janet has a bachelor’s degree in Math/Actuarial Science from the University of Connecticut. She has served on several actuarial committees including the CAS Committee on Professionalism Education, the CAS Committee on Reserves, the AAA IFRS Task Force, the AAA Opinion Seminar Committee, and the SOA Strategic Planning Task Force.

Sally Ezra

Sally Ezra has spent over two decades recruiting actuaries, developing strong professional relationships and a vast network of clients who value her commitment, resourcefulness, her personal attention, and her high level of professional ethics. Sally knows and serves the domestic, offshore, and international markets. She works with all levels of actuaries, from students to Fellows and has placed senior-level actuaries, Chief Actuaries and consulting firm practice leaders. She genuinely enjoys guiding actuaries through their careers. Sally is ingrained within the Actuarial profession – she attends a wide variety of professional SOA and CAS functions each year, publishes in various Actuarial publications, and performs volunteer services for the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Society of Actuaries, and the American Academy of Actuaries.

Sally Ezra and Claude Penland founded Ezra Penland with the goal of serving the Actuarial and related modeling fields with the highest level of professionalism and with individual and dedicated attention. Ezra Penland works on all levels of Actuarial positions, from the analyst and actuarial assistant levels, up through Associateship, Fellowship, Chief Actuaries, consulting partners and executive management. Ezra Penland has deep experience within the related predictive modeling and catastrophe risk modeling fields, as well, and the firm is excited to be at the forefront of the insurance analytics field. These roles are in Property & Casualty, Life, Health, Pensions and Non-Traditional disciplines. Clients include insurers, reinsurers, brokers, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries and modelers.

Lee Gibson Ph.D.

Lee is the Director of Preliminary Exams at The Infinite Actuary and has also been an instructor since 2012. Lee's early interest in math lead to a Ph.D. from Cornell University, after he completed a Bachelor's at the University of Kentucky and a Master's from the University of Louisville. He is a fourth generation Kentucky educator with a deep enjoyment for helping people to learn. Lee has taught many undergraduate math courses at Cornell, the University of Louisville, and at Indiana University Southeast. Lee was frequently named as a faculty mentor or a faculty favorite while teaching college courses, and was the first ever recipient of the Cornell Math department Graduate Student Teaching award.

Session Description: Actuarial exams are hard. It's critical to have a clear plan of attack. At The Infinite Actuary, we've helped over 20,000 actuarial students prepare for their exams. In this session, we'll share some of our top tips on how to study for and take preliminary exams. There will also be plenty of time to ask us questions about the exam process.

Michael Hammer Class of 2015

Michael Hammer is an Actuarial Analyst in the Los Angeles office of Horizon Actuarial Services. His experience includes actuarial valuations, data analysis, nondiscrimination testing, benefit calculations, and actuarial studies. In addition to multiemployer pension plans, Michael has experience with single-employer plans with an emphasis on cash balance pension plans. Michael was employed by Kravitz Inc. before joining Horizon Actuarial Services in 2016. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Actuarial Science (2015) and has passed five actuarial exams.

Roger Hayne Ph.D., FCAS, MAAA, Associate Adjunct Professor, PSTAT-UCSB

Roger Hayne is an Associate Adjunct Professor teaching Actuarial Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Principal and Consulting Actuary at Milliman, Inc.. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries and holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California. Roger is an active volunteer in the CAS, was honored to serve as its President in 2009-2010 and is now serving as Vice President - International. He has published numerous papers in the CAS Forum, the Proceedings of the Casualty Actuarial Society, and Variance. One of his PCAS papers was awarded the 1995 Dorweiller Prize.

Jef Huang FCAS

Jef began working for Farmers Insurance in 2010 as a member of the Personal Lines Reserving Team. After receiving his FCAS designation, he moved to England in 2014 to work for Zurich UK as part of Zurich/Farmers' Actuarial International Rotation program. In England, he specialized in using generalized linear models for pricing, and eventually led the Homeowners Technical Pricing Team. After returning to the US in 2016, Jef joined the Claims Actuarial team at Farmers, where he works on various actuarial and data science projects.

Nhan Huynh M.S. Actuarial Science, UCSB

Nhan Huynh received her 5-year combined B.S and M.S in actuarial science in September, 2016. She is concurrently pursuing her PhD in Statistics and Applied Probability at UCSB with potential research emphasis in biostatistics. At the same time, she is a research intern at Santa Barbara Actuaries, under the supervision of Prof. Ian Duncan, FSA, FIA, FCIA, FCA, MAAA. The majority of her projects are related to medical data, CMS risk adjustment, and health predictive modeling. Nhan's presentation, Improving the Prediction of Re-admissions Amongst Medicare Patients in a California Hospital, at the 51st Actuarial Research Conference in summer 2016, shared the first presentation prize

As a graduate student at UCSB, Nhan has been a teaching assistant for many courses in statistics and actuarial sciences, including: Design and Analysis of Experiences, Mathematics of Fixed Income Markets, Actuarial Statistics, and Actuarial Tutorial.

Dave Kester FSA, MAAA

Dave Kester, FSA, MAAA began his actuarial career 30 years ago when he couldn't find a job as a math teacher. In 1995, Dave became an FSA and started his own actuarial consulting firm, SALT Solutions. Dave's love of education stayed with him, however. In 2009, he created Coaching Actuaries, a unique online learning tool to help actuarial students learn to study efficiently and raise their odds of passing their exams. Coaching Actuaries has since become one of the most widely-used resources for actuarial exam prep, with over 36,000 students having used Coaching Actuaries as a study tool since its foundation.

About Coaching Actuaries: Coaching Actuaries is an online learning platform dedicated to helping actuarial science students study efficiently, build their confidence, and ultimately Raise Their Odds of passing their exams. With its signature Adapt question bank, Coaching Actuaries' practice questions challenge students at their level and tracks their progress while keeping core exam concepts fresh in their minds. Coaching Actuaries also offers video lessons, manuals, and other resources to make complex exam subjects easier to grasp so students can go into their exams with the Confidence to Pass.

Stuart Klugman FSA, CERA, Ph.D.

Stuart Klugman has been a staff fellow in the SOA's Education Department since 2009. For the previous 35 years he was professor of actuarial science at The University of Iowa and Drake University. He has served two terms on the SOA's Board of Governors, authored or edited four textbooks, written numerous research papers, and is a two-time recipient of the SOA's Presidential Award.

Stephanie Lee Class of 2017

Stephanie Lee is a third year senior at UCSB and current President and past Journalist of the UCSB Actuarial Association. She will be graduating this spring with a B.S. in Actuarial Science and plans on returning in the fall to complete her M.S. in Actuarial Science. Stephanie has held an internship at Aon Hewitt, Newport Beach in Health & Benefits and is a three time recipient of the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship from the Actuarial Foundation.

Stephen Lowe FCAS, MAAA, CERA

In 2013 Steve stepped down from his role as Managing Director of Towers Watson’s global property/casualty insurance practice. He continues to consult with selected clients, and is also involved in the firm’s Thinking Ahead Group, performing research relating to future client needs.

With over 30 years of consulting experience, Steve has participated in a wide range of assignments, advising clients on a variety of financial, product and strategic issues. He specializes in assisting clients in understanding the interplay between risk and capital, and how that interplay translates into the creation of value. He has helped numerous clients develop stochastic models that measure risk, test capital adequacy, allocate capital costs, and measure risk-adjusted returns. He has worked with many clients on property catastrophe exposure management issues; performed actuarial appraisals in support of acquisitions/divestitures; developed methodologies for setting target rates of return; developed financial models for investment/tax planning; and participated in strategic planning assignments.

Certifications/Industry Activities

Steve is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and is currently the Immediate Past President and serving as Chairman of the Casualty Actuarial Society Board of Directors. He is a Member and past Vice President of the American Academy of Actuaries. Steve is also a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst, awarded the designation based on his thought leadership.

Steve has served on a number of task forces working on key issues facing the insurance industry relating to taxation, regulation and auditing of insurers. He has published several actuarial papers, including two that have won the prestigious Hachemeister prize. He is a regular contributor to his firm’s Emphasis magazine and a frequent speaker at industry conferences.


Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and has taken courses towards a Master of Arts degree in economics at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Andrew Mackenzie ASA, MAAA, Class of 2013

Andrew graduated from UCSB in 2013 with degrees in Statistics and Economics. While at UCSB, Andrew served as the President of the Actuarial Club during the 2012-2013 school year, won a research award at the 48th Actuarial Research Conference in the summer of 2013, and moonlighted as a UCSB tour guide - among other Gaucho-centered hobbies. After graduation, Andrew moved to Houston to work for Willis Towers Watson as an Actuarial Associate. During his employment at TW, Andrew worked in Health and Group Benefits and spent a year within the Chairman's Fellowship program where he led the firm's research in employee health plan election patterns. In early 2016, Andrew joined Santa Barbara Actuaries as an Actuarial Consultant where he serves a wide-variety of healthcare-related clients. His work specializes in predictive analytics, risk-adjusted outcomes evaluation, general management consulting, and product development.

Amanda Mazanians Class of 2017

Amanda Mazanians is a fourth year student at UCSB, who just completed her B.S. in Actuarial Science and is expected to graduate with her M.S. in Actuarial Science by December 2017. She interned for Willis Towers Watson in Downtown Los Angeles for their Retirement consulting line of business and will be returning next summer to intern for their Health and Benefits line of business. Amanda was also a recipient for the Wawanesa Insurance Scholarship in 2017.

Hemerson Mendoza Class of 2016

Hemerson graduated from the combined 5-year B.S. and M.S. program in June, 2016. He was an active member of the UCSB Actuarial Association. After graduation Hemerson worked as a data analyst at WORLDZ, a future-focused cultural marketing summit. He is currently working as an Actuarial Analyst in the Employer & Individual West Region pricing team at United Healthcare in Cypress, CA.

Areg Mikayelyan Class of 2015

Areg graduated from the UCSB Actuarial Science program in 2015. He has been working full time at the Anthem Blue Cross Woodland Hills office as a Large Group actuarial analyst since February, 2016. Parallel to gaining more experience at work, Areg is currently working towards passing his 4th actuarial exam in February.

Daniel Pon Class of 2016

Daniel graduated from UCSB in 2016 and has been working full time at Farmers Insurance since, after an internship with Farmers Insurance's Actuarial Analytics team. He is currently working in Personal Lines Auto Reserving

Corinne Price Class of 2016

Corinne graduated with a degree in Actuarial Science from UCSB in March 2016. While attending UCSB, she interned in downtown Los Angeles at Towers Watson as an analyst for the Retirement Division. After graduation, Corinne started working for Farmers Insurance at their headquarters in Woodland Hills. She currently works on the Claims Actuarial Team and is responsible for reserving for weather catastrophes, as well as catastrophe reinsurance.

Richard Qian Class of 2017

Richard Qian is a graduate student at UCSB and will be graduating in the spring with a combined B.S. and M.S. in Actuarial Science. Richard had an actuarial internship in Personalize Line Pricing Department at Farmers Insurance over the summer of 2016. He is currently the Treasurer for UCSB Actuarial Club and a TA on campus, and he is preparing for his third actuarial exam right now.

Richard Safran President of UC Davis's Actuarial Science Association

Richard is a fourth year senior at UC Davis and current President of UCD's Actuarial Sciences Association. He will be graduating this spring with a B.A. in Applied Statistics and a B.A. in Economics. Richard has held an internship at Willis Towers Watson within their Graduate Development Program internship where he worked inside their Health & Benefits department. He will be returning to Willis Towers Watson to their full time Graduate Development Program in the fall.

Daniel Solomon Class of 2016

Daniel is a graduate from the class of 2016 at UC Santa Barbara. He was an actuarial intern at Esurance during the summer of 2015 and now works at the California Department of Insurance as an Insurance Rate Analyst. His current position entails reviewing property and casualty insurance filings to determine if they in accordance with state regulations.

Jessie Wang Class of 2014

Jessie graduated from the UCSB Actuarial Science program in 2014, and has been working full time at UnitedHealth Group since. She is in an actuarial rotation program and previously worked in Medical Informatics, as well as Reserving when she was an intern. Currently Jessie is on a trend management team doing a combination of Medicaid and Commercial work.

Chloe Watson Class of 2015

Chloe Watson received her B.S. in Actuarial Science from UCSB in 2015. During her time at UCSB, Chloe was an active member of the Actuarial Association and a recipient of the 2015 Rama Thogarati Memorial Award. Since graduation she has been working in Newport Beach as an actuarial analyst with Aon Hewitt's Health and Benefit consulting practice. She has experience developing rates, setting reserves, creating experience monitoring reports, conducting benchmarking studies, and other ad hoc analyses. Chloe is currently working towards her ASA credential.

Shannon Wolf

Shannon earned her B.S. in Actuarial Science with a minor in Economics from Ohio State University. Since graduation, she has been working in Newport Beach as an actuarial analyst with the Retirement consulting practice for Aon Hewitt. Some of her experience includes work on actuarial valuations, lump sum window offerings, nondiscrimination testing, benefit calculations, and a focus on defined benefit plans. She enjoys running with her coworkers after a day at the office. Shannon is working towards her ASA credential.

Alex Xiao

Alex is a senior at UC Berkeley and the current Director of Professional Development of Cal Actuarial League. He was the former President and Case Competition Director. Alex has held an internship at Milliman in San Francisco and will be returning for a part-time position in the Property & Casualty department in January 2017.

ManYee Yu President of the Bruin Actuarial Society (UCLA)

ManYee Yu is a senior at UCLA, who is double majoring in Financial Actuarial Mathematics and Economics along with Specialization in Computing. She is the current President and past Director of Finance of the Bruin Actuarial Society. ManYee has held an internship at Transamerica, Los Angeles in the Retirement section, and she will be heading to New York City for her full-time position at Mercer Health & Benefits after her graduation in June 2017.

Jerrick Zhang Class of 2017

Jerrick Zhang is a fourth year senior at UCSB and will be graduating in the spring with a B.S. in Actuarial Science. Jerrick held an actuarial internship in Enterprise Risk Management Credit Risk at The Hartford in Hartford, CT and will return in the summer of 2017 to join The Hartford's Life Actuarial Student Program as a Senior Actuarial Analyst. He is also an active member of UCSB's NCAA Division 1 Men's Track and Field Program and is pursuing his fourth actuarial exam while completing school.

Emily Zheng Class of 2016

Emily graduated from UCSB in 2016 through the Actuarial Science BS/MS program. As a student she was involved with the Actuarial Association as the webmaster. Emily has held an internship at Anthem in the commercial division. Since graduation, she has returned to Anthem as an Actuarial Analyst focusing on the government division.