Professor Hailiang Yang: Actuarial science is a lively subject

22 Aug 2023

"Actuarial science is changing with big data and artificial intelligence development. There are many new problems and new branches now, and more will emerge in the future. We face many new problems that need to be solved urgently, which is a challenge, but it also reveals that actuarial science is a lively subject."

Professional experience

Professor Hailiang Yang received his PhD in Statistics and Applied Probability from the University of Alberta in 1993. He also received his Master of Science in Actuarial Science from the University of Waterloo in 1995 and has been in the field of actuarial science since then.

Before joining XJTLU, he worked in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at the University of Hong Kong for 27 years. Since 2018, Professor Yang has been an Editor of the largest global journal in actuarial science research, Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, which is also ranked by the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) as the only A* rated Actuarial Journal.

In 2014, Professor Yang was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and a Corresponding Member of the Swiss Association of Actuaries (SAA). Professor Yang is also an Associate Actuary (ASA) of the Society of Actuaries (SOA).

More than 20 PhD students under the direction of Professor Yang have gone on to become well-known scholars both domestically and internationally, and many of them are now professors at renowned institutions both home and abroad. Some of them hold prominent academic positions as professors, and others hold executive positions at notable investment banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Credit Suisse.


"In the past, one of my research areas has been insurance risk modelling and ruin-related topics. Actuarial science is a subject that studies insurance-related issues. I want to incorporate big data and artificial intelligence approaches into my future research and utilise my mathematical background, which means that my research will have a theoretical or mathematical bias."

Professor Hailiang Yang's research on ruin probability and ruin-related functions with investment was followed by many researchers.

"Optimal investment for insurers with jump-diffusion risk process" (Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, 2005) by Professor Yang and Lihong Zhang was the first paper in this direction to use jump-diffusion modelling. This area has become very popular in recent years. In addition, Professor Yang's work with Hans Gerber and Elias Shiu on the valuation of equity-linked insurance products established a new methodology. Today, many researchers are using this methodology. Professor Yang and several other scholars have recently used deep learning and Markov chain approximation models to study optimal insurance policies, proposing a new method to handle high-dimensional problems of this type.

Furthermore, some of Professor Yang's research results provide insights into industry problems, help understand real-world issues, and are even directly applicable to the insurance industry.


Professor Yang will be teaching the graduate course MTH435 Stochastic Modeling in Actuarial Science.

"The course I will be teaching is very mathematical. For students from different backgrounds, I will detail the material that all students need, and I will also mention some essential topics that cannot be covered in detail in this course. I will also provide as many examples as possible, especially in actuarial science or insurance.

"I prefer to use a whiteboard or blackboard in class, where students follow the teacher's derivations and thoughts on the board, which helps them to better follow the teacher's thinking and mathematical calculations on the content."

Reasons to join XJTLU

"When I browsed the homepage of the Department of Financial and Actuarial Mathematics at XJTLU, I noticed that the department has a very good actuarial science programme and a group of very active young researchers in actuarial science. I believe that the actuarial science programme here will become one of the top programmes in China. I have positioned myself to help them become notable internationally and to help the young faculty members develop themselves."


"As Hilbert said, 'As long as a branch of science offers an abundance of problems, so long is it alive; a lack of problems foreshadows extinction or the cessation of independent development.' We expect that actuarial science will have many fruitful research directions in the near future. Actuarial science needs more young research talents." Prof Yang Hailiang said.

Edited by Qinru Liu

22 Aug 2023