Use domain knowledge to review prior distributions

At the Insurance Data Science conference, both Eric Novik and Paul-Christian Bürkner emphasised in their talks the value of thinking about the data generating process when building Bayesian statistical models. It is also a key step in Michael Betancourt’s Principled Bayesian Workflow. In this post, I will discuss in more detail how to set priors, and review the prior and posterior parameter distributions, but also the prior predictive distributions with brms (Bürkner (2017)).

Hierarchical loss reserving with growth curves using brms

Ahead of the Stan Workshop on Tuesday, here is another example of using brms (Bürkner (2017)) for claims reserving. This time I will use a model inspired by the 2012 paper A Bayesian Nonlinear Model for Forecasting Insurance Loss Payments (Zhang, Dukic, and Guszcza (2012)), which can be seen as a follow-up to Jim Guszcza’s Hierarchical Growth Curve Model (Guszcza (2008)). I discussed Jim’s model in an earlier post using Stan.

Models are about what changes, and what doesn't

How do you build a model from first principles? Here is a step by step guide. Following on from last week’s post on Principled Bayesian Workflow I want to reflect on how to motivate a model. The purpose of most models is to understand change, and yet, considering what doesn’t change and should be kept constant can be equally important. I will go through a couple of models in this post to illustrate this idea.

PK/PD reserving models

This is a follow-up post on hierarchical compartmental reserving models using PK/PD models. It will show how differential equations can be used with Stan/ brms and how correlation for the same group level terms can be modelled. PK/ PD is usually short for pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic models, but as Eric Novik of Generable pointed out to me, it could also be short for Payment Kinetics/ Payment Dynamics Models in the insurance context.

Notes from the Kölner R meeting, 26 February 2016

Last Friday the Cologne R user group came together for the 17th time. This time, we were in for a special treatment, with two talks by psychologists! But, there was nothing to fear, we were in safe hands, and for the first time, we met at the new Microsoft office in Cologne. Lecture room at Microsoft, Cologne First up was Meik Michalke from the University of Düsseldorf presenting the RKWard project.

Bayesian regression models using Stan in R

It seems the summer is coming to end in London, so I shall take a final look at my ice cream data that I have been playing around with to predict sales statistics based on temperature for the last couple of weeks [1], [2], [3]. Here I will use the new brms (GitHub, CRAN) package by Paul-Christian Bürkner to derive the 95% prediction credible interval for the four models I introduced in my first post about generalised linear models.