With Michel Denuit and Julien Trufin, we recently uploaded a joint paper on ArXiv, entitled Autocalibration and Tweedie-dominance for Insurance Pricing with Machine Learning.

Boosting techniques and neural networks are particularly effective machine learning methods for insurance pricing.

Often in practice, there are nevertheless endless debates about the choice of the right loss function to be used to train the machine learning model, as well as about the appropriate metric to assess the performances of competing models. Also,

the sum of fitted values can depart from the observed totals to a large extent and this often confuses actuarial analysts.

The lack of balance inherent to training models by minimizing deviance outside the familiar GLM with canonical

link setting has been empirically documented in Wüthrich (2019, 2020) who attributes it to the early stopping rule in gradient descent methods for model fitting.

The present paper aims to further study this phenomenon when learning proceeds by minimizing Tweedie deviance.

It is shown that minimizing deviance involves a trade-off between the integral of weighted differences of lower partial moments and the bias measured on a specific scale.

Autocalibration is then proposed as a remedy. This new method to correct for bias adds an extra local GLM step to the analysis.

Theoretically, it is shown that it implements the autocalibration concept in pure premium calculation and ensures that balance also holds on a local scale, not only at portfolio level as with existing bias-correction techniques. The convex order appears to be the natural tool to compare competing models, putting a new light on the diagnostic graphs and associated metrics proposed by Denuitet al.(2019).

In this paper, we started with a simple observation : with GLM (like a Poisson regression) we have unbiased predictions, in the sense that \widehat{y}_1+...+\widehat{y}_n=y_1+...+y_n (on the training dataset, we should expect to have \widehat{y}_1+...+\widehat{y}_n\approx y_1+...+y_n on the validation dataset). But with any machin learning algorithm, this is no longer the case. For instance, with a boosting algorithm, we can end up with a significant bias. This is an application on an insurance dataset from the CASdataset package, with a GLM (Poisson regression) on the left, and additive smooth version, GAM in the middle and some boosting algorithm on the right. Here is the dispersion of the predictions, \widehat{y}_i‘s,

Let \widehat{\pi} denote a fited model. If \widehat{\pi} was close to the true parameter of the Poisson model, \mu where \mu(\boldsymbol{x})=\mathbb{E}[Y|\boldsymbol{X}=\boldsymbol{x}], then function s\mapsto\mathbb{E}[Y|\widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{X})=s] should be very close to the first diagonal (since \mathbb{E}[Y|\mu(\boldsymbol{X})=s]=s). And this is was we observe below, for the GLM. But the boosting algorithm has a significant bias.

Furthermore, the bias is not the same everywhere. We can see it more precisely on a quantile version of the x-axis

that is u\mapsto\mathbb{E}[Y|\widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{X})=F_{\widehat{\pi}}^{-1}(u)]. Here is a multiplicative version of that bias u\mapsto\mathbb{E}[Y|\widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{X})=F_{\widehat{\pi}}^{-1}(u)]/u

The idea of autocalibration is to use that multiplicative factor to correct from the bias. Thus, if \widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{x}) is close to the 75% upper quantile, then the true value should be 20% larger for the bootsting algorithm. Here is the new distribution of the predictions, with that correction

and we can observe that u\mapsto\mathbb{E}[Y|\widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{X})=F_{\widehat{\pi}}^{-1}(u)] is now much closer to the first diagonal (below is the multiplicative bias)

We discuss in the paper this correction for local bias, so that u\mapsto\mathbb{E}[Y|\widehat{\pi}(\boldsymbol{X})=F_{\widehat{\pi}}^{-1}(u)] becomes as close as possible to the first diagonal… see https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.03635 for a complete version of the paper, and https://github.com/freakonometrics/autocalibration/ for the complete version of the R codes

Great article with a lot of insight into your feelings… Another interesting read. Thank you.