Research Overview

Insurance is an essential tool to manage risks, while risk management is one of the most important aspects of the insurance industry. With emerging risks affecting all manners of business, risk management and insurance (RMI) is becoming increasingly critical for individuals, organizations, as well as societies. Dr. Tian's research concentrates on quantitative risk modeling in the areas of catastrophic risk management, portfolio optimization, pension fund analysis, longevity risk hedging, and enterprise risk management, through mathematical methods and optimization. In addition, she has extended her research to macroeconomics and behavior research based on survey data.

Current Research

Dr. Tian is currently working on three research projects at different stages. The first one investigates the power of Markovian models in predicting U.S. recessions. The paper is under R&R for second round review. Her second project analyzes the optimal demand for life insurance in China under culture barriers and investment uncertainty. The study proposes to quantify people's fear of death with a creative terror utility function. The third on-going project studies de-risking strategies for defined-benefit (DB) pension plans based on empirical data. The paper expands the scope of "de-risking," which not only includes the traditional buyouts, buyins, and longevity hedges, but also shifts, freezes, and terminations that provide alternative avenues for DB pension risk reduction. This project is submitted to the Society of Actuarial Science (SOA) for grants from the 2018 Actuarial Practice Expansion and Socially Relevant Research.


Dr. Tian's work has been published in premium risk management and insurance journals such as:

  • Journal of Risk and Insurance (JRI - #1 journal in risk management and insurance)
  • Insurance: Mathematics and Economics (IME - #1 journal in actuarial science)
  • North American Actuarial Journal (NAAJ - #2 journal in actuarial science)
  • Variance: Advancing the Science of Risk
  • International Journal of Portfolio Analysis and Management

Dr. Tian's research work has been funded by many US and international agencies, such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Society of Actuaries (SOA), China Scholarship Council (CSC), and others. She  is a highly respect top journal reviewer for JRI, IME, JBF, NAAJ, and more. Currently, she serves on the editorial board for Insurance Markets and Companies Journal and is the Guest Editor of Risks.

Ruilin Tian

Professor of Finance
Richard H. Barry Hall, 244
(701) 231-6544


  • Ph.D. Georgia State University (Risk Management and Insurance)
  • MS Marquette University (Applied Economics)
  • BS Shanghi Jiao Tong University, China


  • Principles of FInance
  • Analysis and Fixed Income Securities
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