James Peluso

James Peluso
Assistant Professor of Mathematics/Statistics
Nassau Community College

How long have you been using SAS®?

30 years.

What SAS products have you used in the past? What products and solutions are you currently using?

Base SAS, SAS/STAT®, SAS/OR®, SAS/ETS®, SAS/IML®, JMP® (past and present).

What is a problem you have solved using SAS?

At GEICO, I used SAS to identify "rate jumpers," i.e., insureds who are potentially paying lower insurance rates due to fraud.

What is the most innovative way you have used SAS?

Many years ago and several years before GEICO embarked on a similar project, I decided to focus on computer assisted underwriting (CAU). I built a SAS expert system, which reviewed canceled policies for possible reissue. The SAS program evaluated the risk based on a mathematical algorithm, similar in principle to the mathematical algorithm used years later by GEICO in its companywide CAU system.

What is your most memorable SAS moment?

That would be during the summer of 2013. I calculated for GEICO odds ratios and loss probabilities for New York-rated policies, based upon five different variables. How did I do this and what did I do? I used binary logistic regression and calculated odds ratios and then calculated: 1) the probability of one or more negligent accidents on a policy, 2) the probability of one or more negligent and/or non-negligent accidents on a policy, and 3) the probability of one or more total thefts on a policy. This was done for the following time ranges: 1) since policy inception, 2) during the last 12 months, 3) during the prior 12 months, and 4) during the interval of 24 to 36 months ago. When you take into account these four different time ranges and all of the different outcomes of the five variables, there were 1 million separate loss probabilities that were calculated.

How has SAS changed in the time you have been using it?

I began my SAS programming career in 1983, when GEICO had just Base SAS and SAS/STAT on its mainframe. I don't believe that PC SAS existed at that time. If you go to the sas.com website and see all of the specialty SAS modules that are now available, you’ll be truly amazed.

Has your work with SAS been influenced by any other members of the SAS community?

Without a doubt by John Lusardi, who no longer works for GEICO. John was the original GEICO SAS programmer, and also the greatest SAS programmer that GEICO has ever seen. I say this because John was the person who read the very complicated IDOC mainframe system with SAS. This, by far, has been the single greatest accomplishment at GEICO regarding SAS. I’m proud to say that John was my teacher and mentor. In the mid-1980s, as John continued to inspire me, I actually trained the very first full-time SAS programmers from GEICO’s Fort Worth (TX), San Diego (CA), Washington (DC), and Macon (GA) offices. As you might imagine, it was at that time that SAS programming activity at GEICO really grew. I’m happy and honored that I played a part in this exponential growth of SAS activity at GEICO. The profound benefits that GEICO has realized by using SAS since the early 1980s can’t possibly be quantified. And now, more than ever, SAS continues to be an integral reason for the success of GEICO, because its utilization allows GEICO management to make more informed and better business decisions, as well as significant improvements in productivity.

If you could point a new SAS user to one resource, what would it be?

All of the PDF documentation that is free to download from the SAS website. Magnificent!

SAS Circle of Excellence - 30 Years

SAS Milestones

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