Follow the ants to richness

A friend of mine told me the secret of making money at the stock market. "It's easy", he said.

All I would have to do is to buy a big jar of ants. Then I should observe the ants movement on my kitchen table, while following the stock market.

I shall keep the ants which walk in line with the stock market and remove those who don't. Eventually I would have one ant left that walked all the way in line with the stock market.

Bingo! This is the one I have to keep feeding well and observe, as it clearly can predict the movements of the stock market.

For more complex problems I recommend to use animals with bigger brains.


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Reserving based on log-incremental payments in R, part III

This is the third post about Christofides' paper on Regression models based on log-incremental payments [1]. The first post covered the fundamentals of Christofides' reserving model in sections A - F, the second focused on a more realistic example and model reduction of sections G - K. Today's post will wrap up the paper with sections L - M and discuss data normalisation and claims inflation.

I will use the same triangle of incremental claims data as introduced in my previous post. The final model had three parameters for origin periods and two parameters for development periods. It is possible to reduce the model further as Christofides illustrates in section L onwards by using an inflation index to bring all claims payments to current value and a claims volume adjustment or weight for each origin period to normalise the triangle.

In his example Christofides uses claims volume adjustments for the origin years and an earning or inflation index for the different payment calendar years. The claims volume adjustments aims to normalise the triangle for similar exposures across origin periods, while the earnings index, which measures largely wages and other forms of compensations, is used as a first proxy for claims inflation. Note that the earnings index shows significant year on year changes from 5% to 9%. Barnett and Zehnwirth [2] would probably recommend to add further parameters for the calendar year effects to the model.
# Page D5.36
ClaimsVolume <- data.frame(origin=0:6, 
  volume.index=c(1.43, 1.45, 1.52, 1.35, 1.29, 1.47, 1.91))
# Page D5.36
EarningIndex <- data.frame(cal=0:6, 
  earning.index=c(1.55, 1.41, 1.3, 1.23, 1.13, 1.05, 1))
# Year on year changes
# [1] 0.09 0.08 0.05 0.08 0.07 0.05

dat <- merge(merge(dat, ClaimsVolume), EarningIndex)

# Normalise data for volume and earnings
dat$logvalue.ind.inf <- with(dat, log(value/volume.index*earning.index))
with(dat, interaction.plot(dev, origin, logvalue.ind.inf))
points(1+dat$dev, dat$logvalue.ind.inf, pch=16, cex=0.8)
Indeed, the interaction plot shows the various origin years now to be much more closely grouped. Only the single point of the last origin period stands out now. Christofides tests several models with different numbers of origin levels, but I am happy with the minimal model using only one parameter for the origin period, namely the intercept:


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Reserving based on log-incremental payments in R, part II

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Following on from last week's post I will continue to go through the paper Regression models based on log-incremental payments by Stavros Christofides [1]. In the previous post I introduced the model from the first 15 pages up to section F. Today I will progress with sections G to K which illustrate the model with a more realistic incremental claims payments triangle from a UK Motor Non-Comprehensive account:
# Page D5.17
tri <- t(matrix(
  c(3511, 3215, 2266, 1712, 1059, 587, 340,
    4001, 3702, 2278, 1180,  956, 629,  NA,
    4355, 3932, 1946, 1522, 1238,  NA,  NA,
    4295, 3455, 2023, 1320,   NA,  NA,  NA,
    4150, 3747, 2320,   NA,   NA,  NA,  NA,
    5102, 4548,   NA,   NA,   NA,  NA,  NA,
    6283,   NA,   NA,   NA,   NA,  NA,  NA), nc=7))
The rows show origin period data, e.g. accident years, underwriting years or years of account and the columns present the development periods or lags. The triangle appears to be fairly well behaved. The last two years in rows 6 and 7 appear to be slightly higher than rows 2 to 5 and the values in row 1 are lower in comparison to the later years. The last payment of £1,238 in the third row stands out a bit as well.

Before I plot the data, I will transform the triangle into a data frame and add extra columns:
m <- dim(tri)[1]; n <- dim(tri)[2]
dat <- data.frame(
  origin=rep(0:(m-1), n),
  dev=rep(0:(n-1), each=m),

## Add dimensions as factors
dat <- with(dat, data.frame(origin, dev, cal=origin+dev, 
                            value, logvalue=log(value),
I am particularly interested in the decay of claims payments in the development year direction for each origin year on the original and log-scale. The interaction.plot of the stats package does an excellent job for this:
op <- par(mfrow=c(2,1), mar=c(4,4,2,2))
with(dat, interaction.plot(x.factor=dev, trace.factor=origin, 
points(dat$devf, dat$value, pch=16, cex=0.5)
with(dat, interaction.plot(x.factor=dev, trace.factor=origin, 
points(dat$devf, dat$logvalue, pch=16, cex=0.5)
Indeed the origin years 1 to 4 (rows 2 to 5) look quite similar and the decay of claims in development year direction appears to be linear on a log-scale from development year 1 onwards.

Based on those observations Christofides suggests two models; the first one will have a unique level for each origin year and a unique level for the zero development period. The parameters for development periods 1 to 6 are assumed to follow a linear relationship with the same slope \(s\):
\ln(P_{ij}) & = Y_{ij} = a_i + d_j + \epsilon_{ij}
&\mbox{for } i,\,j \mbox{ from } 0 \mbox{ to } 6\\
\mbox{where } d_0 &= d,\quad d_j = s \cdot j
&\mbox{for } j > 0
\end{align}and \(\epsilon_{ij} \sim N(0, \sigma^2)\). The second model will be a reduced version of the above with only two levels for the origin years 5 and 6. Hence, I add four more columns to my data frame:

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Reserving based on log-incremental payments in R, part I

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A recent post on the PirateGrunt blog on claims reserving inspired me to look into the paper Regression models based on log-incremental payments by Stavros Christofides [1], published as part of the Claims Reserving Manual (Version 2) of the Institute of Actuaries.

The paper is available together with a spread sheet model, illustrating the calculations. It is very much based on ideas by Barnett and Zehnwirth, see [2] for a reference. However, doing statistical analysis in a spread sheet programme is often cumbersome. I will go through the first 15 pages of Christofides' paper today and illustrate how the model can be implemented in R.

Let's start with the example data of an incremental claims triangle:
## Page D5.4
tri <- t(matrix(
  c(11073,  6427, 1839, 766,
    14799,  9357, 2344,  NA,
    15636, 10523,   NA,  NA,
    16913,    NA,   NA,  NA), 
  nc=4, dimnames=list(origin=0:3, dev=0:3)))
The above triangle shows incremental claims payments for four origin (accident) years over time (development years). It is the aim to predict the bottom right triangle of future claims payments, assuming no further claims after four development years.

Christofides model assumes the following structure for the incremental paid claims \(P_{ij}\):
\ln(P_{ij}) & = Y_{ij} = a_i + b_j + \epsilon_{ij}
\end{align}where i and j go from 0 to 3, \(b_0=0\) and \(\epsilon_{ij} \sim N(0, \sigma^2)\). Unlike the basic chain-ladder method, this is a stochastic model that allows me to test my assumptions and calculate various statistics, e.g. standards errors of my predictions.

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Clone all your gists locally with R

I really like gists as a quick way to include more lengthly code snippets into my blog posts. However, I am not a git user as such, and so I was quite concerned when I noticed that all my gists on this blog had vanished after Christmas. I suppose this was a result of Github's downtime on December 22nd.

Thankfully an email to the support guys at Github resolved the issue within a few hours. Still, I thought it might be a good idea to download my gists locally.

I can see all my gists as a JSON file online here:

Thus, I downloaded the file and thanks to the RJSONIO package I was able to clone all my gists locally with a few lines of R:


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