“Crash Course” Seminar: A Smashing Success

I had the pleasure of attending the “Crash Course on Vehicle Technology and Driverless Cars” seminar this July, jointly organized by the CAS and IIHS/HLDI.* The event hosted about 80 people, most of whom were actuaries.

While a highlight of the event was a real live crash test (see the video I took below), it also included excellent content presented by IIHS/HLDI executives and speakers organized by the CAS.

Based on the evaluations that attendees completed after the event, this was the highest rated CAS event in several years (and perhaps ever), with an average overall rating of 4.9 out of 5. Anecdotally, several attendees said this was “the best CAS event they ever attended.”

The event was held at the IIHS/HLDI Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, VA, which is about a 20 minute drive from Charlottesville. In addition to the live crash test, attendees had the opportunity to test drive vehicles and experience the latest in crash avoidance technology. We were literally able to (unsuccessfully) try to “crash” vehicles that had automatic braking systems.

Sessions at the seminar included:

  • an update on current advanced driver assistance systems
  • a panel discussion of insurance executives who are dealing first-hand with these issues
  • a summary of the research completed by the CAS Automated Vehicles Task Force
  • an exploration of the ethical implications of driverless cars
  • predictions about what these technologies mean for the insurance industry
  • a data driven walkthrough of the many current drivers of personal loss trends

The event was made possible by a gracious invitation from the IIHS/HLDI to host actuaries at their facility and to schedule a crash test to coincide with the seminar. They have also extended this invitation for future events. On behalf of the CAS, I’d like to give them a huge thanks for their hospitality.

Given the extremely positive feedback, as well as the importance of this topic to many actuaries, we are tentatively planning to hold this event every two years (which would mean the next one would be held in 2020). We also hope to make the event even better by incorporating feedback that we’ve received from attendees.

Members who are interested in attending should keep their eyes open for announcements about upcoming events! For more photos of the event, see our Facebook album here.


* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from motor vehicle crashes.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shares and supports this mission through scientific studies of insurance data representing the human and economic losses resulting from the ownership and operation of different types of vehicles and by publishing insurance loss results by vehicle make and model.

Both organizations are wholly supported by auto insurers and insurance associations.


About Justin Brenden

Justin Brenden is the CAS VP-Professional Education and the Chief Reserving Actuary at Third Point Reinsurance Ltd.