Revised plans for 2020 VA industry studies

To download the discussion slides from April 24, click here.

On behalf of our team we hope that you and your families are doing well.

On April 17, we announced revised plans for our 2020 VA industry studies of policyholder behavior. We made this decision with great thought and care following discussions with most of our VA clients over the preceding few weeks. Thanks to the constructive feedback and enthusiastic support of so many, we believe that this change will not only meet your needs but provide you with far more value than what we were originally planning.

  • Our revised plan is to perform the 2020 VA studies with supplemental data through June 30 2020, target completion in November.
  • In the interim, to aid your annual assumption review process, we will make the industry-only portion of last year’s studies available now if you submit your order form for the 2020 VA studies by June 30. After that, the studies will be subject to an additional 25% charge.

We look forward to supporting you in this important work in 2020 and beyond. Please contact me with any questions -

Online meeting March 23 - Market turmoil: What does it mean for annuity policyholder behavior?

Thanks to the nearly 100 of you who participated in this online meeting!

Given the turmoil in financial markets and hearing the concerns of our annuity company clients and others in recent weeks, we expanded what would otherwise have been our Behavioral Analytics Advisory Council to an open meeting for anyone interested.  Discussion slides are here - Ruark BAAC 20200323.

Our primary focus was the brief report "Market turmoil: What does it mean for annuity policyholder behavior?" published last week (link here) by our COO Eric Halpern. Here we have real FIA and VA data and insights from past times of crisis - monthly policyholder behavior and mortality data going back to 2007 covering about 70% of the market with over $1 trillion of current account values.

With all of this great data, we are uniquely positioned to help you better manage risks, especially now.  Our insights from this data allow us to build more accurate models of policyholder behavior, with potentially less hedge breakage for VA and FIA -- how much is 1% A/E improvement worth to you?  Our predictive analytics techniques use company- and industry-level data to help you improve your pricing, valuation, and risk management models. Our approach is rigorous, transparent, and tailored to each company, allowing for quick implementation and quantification of improvement in financial risk profile from what you can do if limited to your own data.

Links to a brief case study and highlights from our recent work are below:

Let me know if you would like to arrange a call or online meeting to discuss our work products and modeling services.

Please stay tuned as we are planning other ways to keep in touch by phone and online meeting over the next few months.  Let me know if you would like us to add you to our email distribution list.  And you can continue to find updates here on our website, LinkedIn, or social media pages using the links below.

Thanks for your continued support, and we hope that you and yours stay well.


Timothy Paris, FSA, MAAA
Chief Executive Officer
Ruark Consulting, LLC
530 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070
Mobile 860.866.7786
Connect with me and follow Ruark on LinkedIn®

Stat and GAAP: raising the bar for data analysis and policyholder behavior modeling

Whether VM-21 for variable annuities, GAAP LDTI, or the prospect of VM-23 for fixed indexed annuities, regulatory changes are raising the bar for data analysis, use of relevant industry data, and policyholder behavior model development.  Let's discuss how our industry studies, benchmarking, and customized model development services can help you.


Timothy Paris


How much is 1% A/E improvement worth to you?

For deferred annuities, minimizing hedge breakage is a key risk management objective.  Here is a simple example showing how a seemingly modest 1% improvement in actual-to-expected ratios can dramatically reduce hedge breakage, even for small- to medium-sized blocks.  How to do it?  By expanding on your own company's experience data to use relevant industry data and credibility theory to improve policyholder behavior models.

This is what we do.  Our work is not an expense, it is an investment in risk management with quantifiable benefits.  Let's discuss exactly how this can work for you.


Timothy Paris


Case study - modeling FIA GLIB income commencement

Download the case study here:  Ruark - case study - FIA income commencement using credibility theory and PA

Quantifying the benefits of using your company data, industry data, and credibility theory in a predictive analytics context.  This case study is focused on FIA GLIB income commencement but the approach works similarly well for other products, riders, and policyholder behaviors.  Our experience is that the financial benefits can be 1000x greater than the costs.  Let’s discuss exactly how this can work for you.


Timothy Paris


New VA and FIA mortality tables, splits for benefit type and durational anti-selection

I am very pleased to announce that we have released new industry mortality tables for variable annuity (VA) and fixed indexed annuity (FIA) products. Building on the industry studies and tables that we have produced since 2007, the new tables are derived from our 2018 studies of VA and FIA mortality and are an expansion of this work for specific VA rider types and for FIA. They include a table for VA contracts with lifetime withdrawal benefits (“RVAM-LB”); a table for VA contracts without living benefits (“RVAM-DB”); and a table for FIA (“RFIAM”) in aggregate. All are single-life mortality tables.

• The RVAM-LB table incorporates 34 million exposure years and 320,000 deaths on VA contracts with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits (GLWB) or hybrid GMIB. The table is calibrated to experience in contract durations 3 and later, with select factors for the earlier durations. This reflects key findings from our 2018 study - GLWB and hybrid GMIB mortality is lower than average at issue and rises to an ultimate level over time.

• The RVAM-DB table incorporates 29 million exposure years and 523,000 deaths on VA contracts without living benefits. The table is a select-and-ultimate table with a 5-year select period. This reflects key findings from our 2018 study - VA contracts without living benefits, primarily with death benefit (DB) only, have higher mortality than average at issue and the magnitude of anti-selection varies by issue age.

• The RFIAM table incorporates 16 million exposure years and 265,000 deaths on FIA contracts, both with and without lifetime income riders. Similar to RVAM-LB, the RFIAM table is calibrated to experience in contract durations 3 and later, with select factors for the earlier durations reflecting lower mortality consistent with findings from our 2018 study.

These new tables are purpose-built for deferred annuities, and are demonstrably better than standard industry tables for VA and FIA valuation -- they reflect not only the effects of age and gender, but also differences by product type and contract duration which are important components of mortality anti-selection.

We are making the new tables immediately available, free of charge, to clients who have already purchased our respective 2018 VA and FIA mortality studies. New purchasers of the these studies will also receive the tables.

Detailed study results, including company-level analytics, benchmarking, and customized behavioral assumption models calibrated to the study data, are available for purchase by participating companies.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more.

EBIG Conference: using predictive analytics to model annuity policyholder behavior

Here is our presentation from session 2B of the EBIG Conference in November 2019.

It includes an exploration of drivers, cohorts, and dynamics for policyholder behavior for VA and FIA based on industry experience data, including changes in recent years and the emergence of long-term data in key areas.

Moreover, we discuss critical elements to developing a sustainable and coherent framework to translate this complex experience data into assumption models.

Ruark 2019 top news

  • How much is 1% A/E improvement worth to you? As you can see, we estimate that it can be hundreds of millions or even billions, but we recommend that you do the math for yourself. And yes, this 1%+ is what we can typically do using the data from our VA and FIA industry studies of policyholder behavior (over $1 trillion current account value) in a credibility-based predictive analytics framework. If you are aware of a better cost-benefit anywhere, we'd love to hear about it! We're trying to make it as easy as possible for you to fend off the budget hawks.


  • VM-21 exposure draft looks set to raise the bar on policyholder behavior data analysis and modeling assumptions. Fortunately, we've got you covered there too.


  • 2019 FIA and VA studies are still available for purchase, along with our most recent (triennial) 2018 mortality studies, if you have not done so already.

Other goodies --

  • Data gathering is in flight for 2020 FIA studies and we will turn to VA data after year-end. And we are working to bring some new data contributors aboard too. If you're not in yet, let's fix that.


  • As previously mentioned, we also plan to gather data in H1 2020 for a first ever GMIB post-annuitization mortality study. Longevity anti-selection? Comparisons to GLWBs or SPIAs? We want to know too, and the data is now emerging.


  • Looking ahead to 2020, our plans are here.  The industry studies feed into our more customized engagements which range from assumption review to development of predictive models and related assumptions to complete process management.



Please contact me if you would like to discuss.


Ruark: delighted to assist with the SOA Pri-2012 Private Retirement Plans Mortality Tables

While we still love our individual annuity work, we were delighted to assist the SOA in the compilation and processing of pension mortality data for the Pri-2012 mortality tables.


Policyholder Behavior is the focus at this SOA seminar

We will have a lot to do there -- 🔥case study on Fixed Indexed Annuity income utilization using credibility theory in a predictive analytics context, a review of policyholder behavior experience data findings across the industry including some newly emerging data and interrelationships in key areas, and much more.

Hope to see you there!  Bridging the Gap seminar on Nov 10, which leads into the Equity-Based Insurance Guarantees Conference Nov 11-12.