2019 *NEW* Ruark annuity industry studies

In response to client demand, we would like begin the process of gathering policyholder behavior and mortality data for products beyond VA and FIA, as follows:

  • Post-annuitization deferred annuity mortality, including GMIBs and GLWBs in the payout phase.
  • Immediate annuity mortality.
  • Structured settlement annuity mortality.
  • Fixed deferred annuity surrenders, income utilization, and mortality.
  • Structured/indexed variable annuity surrenders, income utilization, and mortality.

If you have not already received the data request templates, please contact us. We request your data submissions by March 31, 2019. Pending your data submissions and purchase commitments, we will circle back with you to let you know what studies we can proceed with and when.

We look forward to broadening our relationship with you through these additional studies and corresponding behavioral modeling. Please contact Tim (timothyparis@ruark.co) or any of us at Ruark with any questions.

So many presentations in the last few months...

Actuaries' Club of Hartford & Springfield meeting
Equity-Based Insurance Guarantees Conference
SOA Annual Meeting
Valuation Actuary Symposium

Thanks to all of these organizations, and I appreciated the attendee questions and discussions. Each presentation was at least a little different, but this one from the ACHS meeting is representative of the type of insights that our industry experience studies give to our clients, and how we demonstrate the value of our work + industry data in developing customized behavioral models that help insurance companies better manage policyholder behavior and mortality/longevity risks for annuities.


SOA and Ruark: predictive analytics video and case study

I appreciate the SOA including me in their case studies of actuaries embracing predictive analytics, and I must give credit to our great team here at Ruark Consulting, our collaborators at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut, and our clients.  Here is the video and article.

Those looking for some additional info can find it my article "When is Your Own Data Not Enough?" from The Actuary magazine.



Retirement Income Journal - Coverage of our Mortality Studies


Registration is open! 2018 SOA Life and Annuity Reinsurance Seminar

If you're attending the ValAct, stay an extra day for this. If not, easy trip for anyone on the east coast.

I'm looking forward to hosting on behalf of the Reinsurance Section Council, and speaking on the topics of policyholder behavior and reinsurance.


When Is Your Own Data Not Enough?

Published in The Actuary magazine of the SOA, June/July 2018.

How using external data can strengthen results.

Related notes:

  • Our spring 2018 VA and FIA industry experience studies included over $1.1 trillion in current account values.  Highlights and media coverage.
  • Triennial VA and FIA mortality studies are on the way this summer.
  • We continue to be very busy with client work, developing customized predictive models that balance relevant industry-level data with company- and product-level data, with quantifiable improvement in goodness-of-fit and predictive power relative to company-only data.  Like hedging and reinsurance, this is an investment in risk management, not an expense.
  • Details to come of our plans for 2019, including expansion to other products such as traditional fixed deferred and payout annuities.
  • Contact us with feedback or to learn more about participation or purchase.



Actuary Professional Code of Conduct

The Real Code

 Ruark Code of Conduct

As part of the continuing education that is required for me to maintain my US actuarial credentials, I typically spend about an hour each year meditating on the

Code of Professional Conduct.  Unlike most of the regulations, practice standards, guidance notes, memoranda, presentations, and work products with which we so often must grapple in our daily work, the Code is concise, easy to read, and vital.  And therein lies its power to clearly define what it means to be an actuary, and hence, what is not an actuary.

The Code has been effective since January 2001, replacing prior versions which dated back many years.  Yet like returning to the great literary classics, subsequent readings of the Code continue to offer new insights into timeless challenges, and received wisdom to apply to new challenges.  For this, actuaries, their clients and employers, and the public owe the committee of authors an enduring debt of gratitude.

With actuarial work increasingly reliant on, and sometimes competing against, computer-based algorithms, artificial intelligence, and myriad techy buzzwords (including at my own company!), I think that the Code is more valuable than ever.  But don’t take my word for it.  It’s only four pages -- read it for yourself.  Read it for your clients and employers.  Read it for the public.  Then ask yourself -- am I living up to this high standard of conduct?  Can algorithms, computers, or other merely math-savvy people replace this professionalism?

I used to read the Code with a rote objective of fulfilling my continuing education requirements.  Now I know better.  I read and reread it as the animating spirit of our profession, so that no matter what my work is, or what technological tools (dare I say computer code) and professional judgment I use to carry it out, I am ever mindful of the high standards I must maintain to be an actuary and the importance of my work to the greater good.