Pandemic Risk Management: Resources Contingency Planning and Allocation

Pandemic Risk Management: Resources Contingency Planning and Allocation

Fall 2020 Actuarial Science and Financial Mathematics Seminar

Date and Time: Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 9:00 AM (CST)


  • Alfred Chong (Department of Mathematics and Department of Statistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Runhuan Feng (Department of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Linfeng Zhang (Department of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Abstract: Repeated history of pandemics such as SARS, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19 have shown that pandemic risk is inevitable. Contingency planning is a necessary tool in the fight against pandemics. The extraordinary shortage of medical supplies in many parts of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic is attributable to the lack of coordinated efforts to build stockpiles and deploy existing resources rapidly to locations of greatest need. A combined strategy of contingency planning and resources allocation is a critical component of risk management for all organizations in the modern society.

Today’s technology allows us to use epidemiological models to predict the spread of infectious diseases in the similar way that meteorological models are used to forecast weather. Taking advantage of predictive models, we can project the dynamics of demand and supply for medical resources at different phases of a pandemic. Such predictions provide quantitative bases for decision makers of healthcare system to understand the potential imbalance of supply and demand, and to address disparities of access to critical medical supply across different subsidiaries and in the course of the pandemic.

This talk extends the concepts of reserving and capital management in the classic insurance literature and aims to provide a quantitative framework for quantifying and assessing pandemic risk, and developing optimal strategies for resources stockpiling, emergency acquisition, and spatio-temporal resource allocations. In Summer 2020, an Illinois Risk Lab research team launched a web-based tool ( to showcase the analytical framework. As the team continues to refine and improve the tool over the summer, the ultimate goal is to make the toolkit useful for public health policymakers and risk management professionals. The toolkit can be used to project surge demand for scarce resources, and to provide a quantitative basis for coordination and allocation of resources between federal and state health authorities.