Discrimination by proxy (a real case study)

Yesterday, with Laurence Barry, we posted a blog post “Who benefits from data sharing?” explaining why data sharing, in insurance, could end mutualization. Actually, it can also be bad in the context of discrimination. Consider here the same dataset, with claim occurence, in a real insurance portfolio,

library(InsurFair)
library(randomForest)

Consider a version of this dataset without the gender, and use variable importance to get a list of variables we can use in a predictive model

subfrenchmotor = frenchmotor[,-which(names(frenchmotor)=="sensitive")]
RF = randomForest(y~. ,data=subfrenchmotor)
vi = varImpPlot(RF , sort = TRUE)

We sort variables based on variable importance (the first one is the “most important” one), and add splines for three continuous variables

dfvi = data.frame(nom = names(subfrenchmotor)[-15], g = as.numeric(vi))
dfvi = dfvi[rev(order(dfvi$g)),]
nom = dfvi$nom
nom[1] = "bs(LicAge)"
nom[3] = "bs(DrivAge)"
nom[7] = "bs(BonusMalus)"

Then, the idea is simple : at stage k, we keep the k most important variables, and run a logistic regression on those k variables. Again, I should stress that the gender of the driver is not among those k variables. Then, we compute the average prediction of claim frequency, for mean and women.

n=nrow(subfrenchmotor)
library(splines)
idx_F = which(frenchmotor$sensitive == "Female")
idx_M = which(frenchmotor$sensitive == "Male")
metric_gender= function(k =3){
if(k==0){
reg = glm(y~1, family=binomial, data=subfrenchmotor)
yp = predict(reg, type="response")
yp_F = yp[idx_F]
yp_M = yp[idx_M]
sortie = c(mean(yp_F),mean(yp_M),quantile(yp_F,c(.1,.9)),quantile(yp_M,c(.1,.9)))
names(sortie)[1:2]=c("mean_F","mean_M")
}
if(k>0){
vr = paste(nom[1:k],collapse = " + ")
fm = paste("y ~ ",vr,sep="")
reg = glm(fm, family=binomial, data=subfrenchmotor)
yp = predict(reg, type="response")
yp_F = yp[idx_F]
yp_M = yp[idx_M]
sortie = c(mean(yp_F),mean(yp_M),quantile(yp_F,c(.1,.9)),quantile(yp_M,c(.1,.9)))
names(sortie)[1:2]=c("mean_F","mean_M")
}
sortie}

Let us not compute it for all variables

N = 0:15
M = Vectorize(metric_gender)(N)

and plot it

plot(N,M[1,]*100, xlab="Number of predictive variables (without gender)", ylab=
"Average predicted claims frequency (%)", type="b", pch=19, col=COLORS[2], ylim=c(8.12,9))
lines(N, M[2,]*100, type="b", pch=15, col=COLORS[3])

Interestingly, we can clearly see that with 15 explanatory variables, even if our model is gender-blind (since it is not in the training dataset), our model reproduce the difference we can observe in the dataset : annual claim frequency for men is almost 9% and 8.2% for women.

Actually, it is not possible to predict the gender for our 15 variables (below is the ROC curve of the logistic regression to predict the gender)

metric_gender_2= function(k =3){
if(k==0){
reg = glm((sensitive=="Female")~1, family=binomial, data=frenchmotor)
}
if(k>0){
vr = paste(nom[1:k],collapse = " + ")
fm_genre = paste('(sensitive=="Female") ~ ',vr,sep="")
reg = glm(fm_genre, family=binomial, data=frenchmotor)
}
pred = prediction(predict(reg,type="response"),(frenchmotor$sensitive=="Female"))
performance(pred,"tpr","fpr")}
plot(metric_gender_2(15))

but still, when using 15 variables, we obtain discrimination in our portfolio, since the average predictions for mean and women are significantly difference (even if our models are, per se, gender-blind).



Cite this blog post
Arthur Charpentier (2024, February 15). Discrimination by proxy (a real case study). Freakonometrics. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/vumg

3 thoughts on “Discrimination by proxy (a real case study)”

  1. Am I missing something, or have you discovered that men and women behave differently? This can’t be a surprise to anyone.

    The word “discrimination” is semantically loaded, at least in the U.S.A., and while it can simply mean noticing a difference, its more common meaning is as a pernicious maltreatment of members of a particular group.

    Surely if the experience of an insurer shows that some prospects are significantly (statistically-speaking) more likely to make claims, or to make more expensive claims (in this case, men), it can’t be unreasonable or unfair to offer coverage at higher prices than to members of groups less likely to make frequent or expensive claims.

    Automobile insurers ask higher premiums for young male drivers precisely because members of this group are significantly more likely to cost the insurer in claims payouts. Yes, this is “discrimination”, but it is neither unreasonable nor unfair.

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