cod. 1010843

Academic year 2024/25
2° year of course - First semester
Annamaria OLIVIERI
Academic discipline
Metodi matematici dell'economia e delle scienze attuariali e finanziarie (SECS-S/06)
Type of training activity
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
8 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
The student learns the basic technical principles of the management of an insurance business; he/she examines the main structure of life and non-life insurance products, of life insurance savings benefits and annuities; he/she investigates the risk management process for an insurer, understanding the main risk management actions.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
The student learns the basic actuarial tools for the pricing of the main insurance benefits, the reserving of insurance products, the assessment of profits and the basic steps of the insurance risk management.
The expertise gained by the student on the topics dealt with in the course are
suitable for several positions in an insurance company or a pension fund. Outside the insurance area, the knowledge provided by the course can help in understanding the features of the risk management services provided by an insurance company to an industry or an individual.

Making judgements:
The course stimulates the ability to perform a critical analysis, as it is expected from a post-graduate student with a business economic background, who is employed in the financial/insurance
sector. The student is able to interpret critically the output of actuarial
valuations, and he/she is also able to use autonomously simple actuarial models.

Communication skills:
The student is educated in the use of the basic actuarial-technical language.
Therefore, he/she is able to communicate efficiently with whom is in charge of actuarial valuations. He/she can coordinate the more strictly technical staff with those charged with managerial and accounting duties.

Learning skills:
The student develops the ability to interpret the technical aspects of insurance and pension problems. He/she can understand the quantitative models more suitable for solving such problems. In particular, the student learns how to use non sophisticated quantitative models and is able to go deeper into the subject in order to understand more advanced quantitative models.


Basic knowledge of financial mathematics and probability.

Course unit content

Part 1 - Risks: representation, transfer. The features of a pool of risks. Technical aspects of the risk management of an insurer.

Part 2 - Technical aspects of life insurance products: premiums, reserves, benefits linked to financial indexes.

Part 3 – Technical aspects of non-life insurance products: premium, reserves.

Full programme

Available online, on the Elly platform.
During the teaching period, the detailed program will be updated at least weekly.


A. Olivieri, E. Pitacco. Introduction to insurance mathematics. Technical and financial features of risk transfers. Springer. 2nd Edition, 2015.
Course slides, numerical exercises, multiple choice questions, available (from the beginning of lectures) online on the Elly platform.

Teaching methods

Face-to-face lectures and project work.

Face-to-face lectures will be recorded; the url will be provided on Elly. In order to stimulate active participation in class, for some lectures a pre-recording could be provided, to be listened before the face-to-face lecture. For detailed information, see Elly. If, because of technical issues, the recording of live lectures fails, a replacement video will be provided.
The student has to further practice on models and numerical problems on his/her own. The student will be assigned problems which he/she has to solve autonomously after classes, so to develop his/her own ability to use the models presented during classes.

The project work is optional, limited to the teaching period and to be prepared outside class hours. It can be performed individually or in group (up to 4 people admitted in the group), upon student’s choice. Three alternative types of project work are available: reading and discussing a research or a popular science paper on a topic of current interest to the insurance industry; analysis and comparison of a sample of insurance products traded on the market; in-depth study of a course topic, through the discussion of an expanded numerical problem.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written exam, supplemented by oral exam (optional), and project work (optional, but limited to the I term).
Written exam: 6 questions (2 on each part of the course). Questions on Part 1 are open; they require a short numerical assessment and interpretation based on theoretical arguments. Questions on Part 2 and 3 are multiple choice, but the answer must be commented by performing numerical calculations or discussing model issues, depending on the query. Grades: the two questions on Part 1 are graded up to 6 points each; the four questions on Part 2 and 3 are graded up to 5 points each. The assessment is based on the correctness and quality of the answer, in terms of model used, calculation and technical language, as well as on the ability to provide a comprehensive but synthetic answer. Time allowed: 40 minutes.
The written exam is open book. A pocket calculator is admitted, as well as the teaching material (in printed form) used for training. Interaction with other people is not admitted, in no form.
Maximum mark assigned to the test: 27.
Oral exam (optional): one/two theoretical questions (about modelling issues), to be answered in 10-15 minutes in total. Depending on the student’s performance, the mark obtained in the written exam is adjusted +/- 3 points.
Project work: available only during the I term; it can be performed (upon student’s choice) individually or in group (up to 4 people admitted in the group) and is assessed, for each student, up to 3 points, to be added to the mark obtained in the written exam. The assessment is based on accuracy of the discussion, understanding of the topic and presentation ability. Those performing the project work must complete the exam (written + possible oral exam + project work presentation) in the winter session; otherwise, the assessment of the project work is cancelled.
Questions in the written and oral exam are designed so to assess knowledge and understanding of the topics covered in the course, as well as applying knowledge and understanding, making judgements and communication skills. The oral exam and project work, in particular, allow to assess understanding, the ability of making judgements and communicating with the appropriate technical language. In the interpretation of the numerical findings, in the oral exam and project work (if taken) the student must show his/her communication skills, in particular with regard to the appropriate technical language.
Honors are not awarded automatically, but to those particularly deserving students who, in addition to having complied with the requisites necessary to obtain full marks and having attended actively to classes, in the performance of the whole exam have proved an appreciable systematic knowledge of the subject, an excellent ability to apply the gained knowledge to the specific problem submitted during the exam, a considerable autonomy of judgment, as well as a particular care in the formal written and oral presentation and excellent communication skills.
The mark assigned to the written exam will be published on the Esse3 platform within few days from the exam, barring unforeseen circumstances. The mark assigned to the oral exam and project work is communicated at the end of the exam/presentation.
During the teaching period, it is possible to take the written exam by attending partial assessments: one on each part of the course. Details are provided on the Elly page.

Other information