GUN VIOLENCE: ACTUARIAL ANALYSIS AND MATHEMATICAL MODELING

Kristen Moore
University of Michigan 
Friday, December 6, 2019 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Vincent Hall 16

Firearm deaths and injuries are a significant problem in the United States. Indeed, the American Medical Association recently called firearm violence “a public health crisis” and called for a comprehensive public health response and solution. Gun violence in America exacts a significant toll on our society in both human and economic terms. Some argue that Americans have a moral obligation to address the issue of gun violence. But even from a more concrete perspective, the economic cost of firearms directly impacts the financial outcomes of insurers and taxpayers. There is a clear need for unbiased and objective research on the societal and economic impact of firearms. Actuaries are well positioned to study the mortality and morbidity related to firearms, both to quantify the risk and to inform governmental and public health interventions to mitigate the risk associated with firearms. Yet there is little on the topic in the actuarial and insurance literature. In this talk. I will provide a brief overview on the scope of firearm deaths and injuries and examine the extent to which actuaries and insurance professionals have studied or addressed the issue. I will compare firearm risk to risks that are considered in the underwriting process for life and homeowners insurance. I will describe some existing insurance products related to firearm risk as well as proposed legislation regarding gun liability insurance. In a different vein, if time permits, I will discuss preliminary work on a dynamical systems model of gun violence within a population. We are studying how, in an idealized model, changes to various policy parameters affect the long-term behavior of a system. Finally, I will describe some of the many open questions related to gun violence that are amenable to study by actuaries and mathematicians. Bio: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/ksmoore/