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What a coincidence...

A coincidence can be described as something uncanny, accidental or unexpected.  Although we are often surprised by them, from a statistical perspective coincidences are inevitable. In the field of mathematics, the index of coincidence can be used to analyse whether two events are related.  The index of coincidence is the technique of, for example, putting two texts side-by-side and counting the number of times that identical letters appear in the same position in both texts.

Similarly, actuaries mathematically evaluate the likelihood of events and measure the coincidental outcomes in order to minimize losses that are associated with uncertain and undesirable events.  It is only after they have done this that they can calculate insurance premiums and advise on whether or not a company has sufficient assets to meet its potential and actual liabilities.  To read a case study of an actuarial assistant click here.

Another risk expert is David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge.   In his post he leads a small team which attempts to improve the way in which the quantitative aspects of risk are discussed in society and you could help him - he wants to know about your coincidences.  To help the Professor and his team you can contribute your 'what a coincidence' moments here


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