Ruark Consulting Releases 2018 Fixed Indexed Annuity Mortality Study

Mortality rates vary by living benefit presence & utilization

Ruark Consulting, LLC today released the results of its 2018 study of fixed indexed annuity (FIA) industry mortality. The study was based on experience from 3 million policyholders spanning the period January, 2007 through September, 2017. Fourteeen variable annuity writers participated in the study, comprising $215 billion in account value as of September, 2017.

“We have almost 50% more data than our last FIA mortality study, allowing for high credibility even when splitting results by multiple factors of influence,” said Timothy Paris, Ruark’s CEO. “We’ve also added much more detailed analysis of mortality results by living benefit presence and income behavior, contract size, tax status, interactions, and changes through time. These studies provide new and important insights into FIA mortality, particularly with the growth of living benefit experience beyond the surrender charge period.”

The company’s previous FIA mortality study was released in 2016.

Paris highlighted study enhancements in response to recent regulatory proposals. “It’s not often that life and annuity actuaries need to address new mortality and projection bases for reserves and capital,” he noted, “but now is indeed the time for that. So we’ve included analyses of industry mortality results relative to the 2012 IAM Basic Table with projection scale G2, our proprietary Ruark variable annuity mortality table, and other tabular bases to make the study results as meaningful and actionable as possible for our client companies and their actuaries.”

Study highlights include:

  • After normalizing for age, sex, and duration, Ruark observes a distinct hierarchy in mortality across living benefit presence and utilization. Highest mortality is found on contracts without guaranteed lifetime income benefits (GLIB); those with a GLIB rider that have not begun taking income have mortality at slightly below average; and GLIB contracts that are in the income phase have the lowest mortality, at 88% of average. This hierarchy is consistent with a pattern of selection on the basis of longevity benefits. Ruark also observes a difference in mortality on the basis of tax status.

  • In this study for the first time, Ruark benchmarks results against the 2012 Individual Annuity Mortality (IAM) Basic table with projection scale G2. Ruark also benchmarks results against other standard mortality tables and their proprietary 2015 Ruark Variable Annuity Mortality (RVAM) table. Standard industry mortality tables systematically overstate or understate various age-sex cohorts, even when they closely approximate aggregate mortality. In contrast, the 2015 Ruark VAM table better reflects FIA mortality both in aggregate and by age-sex cells.

  • Ruark's estimate of aggregate FIA mortality has remained stable since 2016. In contrast, VA mortality has fallen approximately 3% since 2015, driven by mortality improvement and changes in the business mix. In the case of FIA, these downward trends are offset by the effects of improved company-by-company data processing in this study, particularly with regard to spousal continuation following the death of the original policyholder.

  • FIA mortality exhibits a select-and-ultimate pattern even in the absence of individual underwriting. Mortality in the first year is 75% of average in the first contract year, jumps 20 percentage points in the second contract year, and then grows by approximately 1.6 percentage points each year thereafter. This phenomenon is consistent with the intuition that FIA buyers might be expected to be somewhat healthier in order to enter into a financial transaction that offers limited death benefits, and various forms of longevity benefits.

  • There is evidence of mortality improvement among FIA policyholders, and the extent of improvement appears to vary depending on whether or not the contract includes a GLIB rider. Contracts with a GLIB rider exhibit improvement consistent with projection scale G2; those without a rider exhibit greater annual improvement.

 

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

For further information on results, to purchase the study, or if you have any other inquiries, click here or email Timothy Paris (timothyparis@ruark.co).


Ruark Consulting Releases Variable Annuity Mortality Study Results

Mortality rates fall 3%, driven by mortality improvement and business mix

Ruark Consulting, LLC today released the results of its 2018 study of variable annuity (VA) industry mortality. The study was based on experience from 13.3 million policyholders spanning the period January, 2008 through December, 2017. Twenty-four variable annuity writers participated in the study, comprising $880 billion in account value as of December, 2017.

“We have 60% more data than our last VA mortality study, allowing for high credibility even when splitting results by multiple factors of influence,” said Timothy Paris, Ruark’s CEO. “We’ve also added much more detailed analysis of mortality results by living benefit and death benefit types, partial withdrawal and income behavior, contract size, tax status, interactions, and changes through time. These studies provide new and important insights into VA mortality, particularly with the seasoning of living benefit blocks beyond the end of surrender charge and bonus periods.”

The company’s previous VA mortality study was released in 2015.

Paris highlighted study enhancements in response to recent regulatory proposals. “It’s not often that life and annuity actuaries need to address new mortality and projection bases for reserves and capital,” he noted, “but now is indeed the time for that. So we’ve included analyses of industry mortality results relative to the 2012 IAM Basic Table with projection scale G2, our proprietary Ruark VA mortality table, and other tabular bases to make the study results as meaningful and actionable as possible for our client companies and their actuaries.”

Study highlights include:

  • Aggregate variable annuity mortality has declined 3% since 2015. The decline is largely attributable to two factors: mortality improvement and changes in the business mix. Contracts with living benefits exhibit lower mortality than average, and these contracts make up an increasing proportion of overall exposure. Whereas 44% of 2008 account value was on contracts with no living benefit, and 43% on contracts with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) or guaranteed minimum income benefit (GMIB) riders, by 2014 the proportions were 25% and 69%, respectively. The proportion of exposure has remained roughly the same in subsequent years.

  • In this study for the first time, Ruark benchmarked VA mortality against the 2012 Individual Annuity Mortality (IAM) Basic table with projection scale G2. The 2012 IAM Basic with G2 projection is under consideration as the standard for calculating insurers' reserve and capital requirements for variable annuities. Ruark also benchmarked VA mortality against its proprietary 2015 Ruark Variable Annuity Mortality (RVAM) table, which was developed from the results of the prior study. Standard industry mortality tables systematically overstate or understate various age-sex cohorts, even when they closely approximate aggregate mortality. In contrast to the 2012 IAM table, which departs as much as 18% from experience at central ages and over 45% for younger female cohorts, the 2015 Ruark VAM table diverges by less than half those amounts.

  • Variable annuity mortality continues to evolve through time. Changes in the business mix, and mortality improvement since the prior study, have led to changes across age-sex cohorts as well as a decline in the absolute level of VA mortality.
  • A distinct hierarchy in mortality across living benefit types is apparent. Lowest mortality is found on GLWB and GMIB riders. Guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB) and guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit (GMAB) riders fall in a middle group, with average mortality. Those contracts without living benefits exhibit above-average mortality. This hierarchy is consistent with a pattern of policyholder selection on the basis of longevity benefits. A GLWB rider allows the policyholder to make regular withdrawals, up to a specified amount, until death – even after exhausting their account value. This benefit is most valuable to policyholders with an expectation of favorable longevity. Above-average mortality on contracts without living benefits is consistent with the intuition that less-healthy VA buyers would rationally forego a financial transaction that features such benefits -- and instead purchase a product whose main feature is a death benefit. Analysis by contract duration indicates that the selection effects wear off over time, similar to traditional life insurance products.

  • The extent to which mortality differs by living benefit type suggests that utilization of living benefits might reveal selective pressures as well, and Ruark observes that withdrawal benefit mortality differs considerably by withdrawal history. GLWB contracts that have taken no withdrawals have low mortality; those that have taken regular income withdrawals have intermediate mortality; and those that have taken excess withdrawals exhibit above-average mortality. Ruark’s conjecture is that these differences reflect policyholders’ different income and liquidity needs in response to conditions that correlate with higher mortality.

  • The effects of policy size are apparent only when results are segregated by living benefit type. Among more generous living benefit types, mortality declines with increased account value, with a difference of 7 percentage points between the smallest and largest contracts. Among older living benefit forms (GMWB and GMAB), the relationship is flat. And among contracts with no living benefits, mortality increases with account value, by 15 percentage points from the smallest to the largest contract size groups. Ruark believes that more affluent policyholders are generally more financially savvy and have greater access to expert financial advice, which translates to more savvy purchase and benefit retention behavior.

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

For further information on results, to purchase the study, or if you have any other inquiries, click here or email Timothy Paris (timothyparis@ruark.co).


Our 2017 plans for behavioral analytics

platform_ruarkbg

 

Are your assumptions informed by credible industry experience?

 

checkWe provide a powerful combination of industry- and company-level experience studies, predictive modeling, traditional analytical techniques, and expert judgment, based on seriatim monthly data since 2007, covering approximately 70% of the annuity industry.

Is your analytical framework robust as new data emerges?

checkWe work with you to customize and implement our behavioral analytics framework, with transparent linkage from experience data to assumption models, naturally suited to regular updates for inforce and new business.

Are your analytics granular enough to mitigate anti-selection and proactively manage changes in your business mix?

checkWe address the many factors of influence and their changes over time, including product and guarantee type, surrender charge period and duration, moneyness of guarantees on actuarial and nominal bases, contract size, tax status, age, gender, distribution channel and compensation structures, and income utilization and efficiency.

Is speed important to you?

checkIt is to us too. We provide the timely and immediately actionable results you need to efficiently manage your company’s behavioral risks.

 


We aim to be the platform and industry benchmark for principles-based insurance data analytics and risk management.


 

2017 VA and FIA Behavioral Modules

For each of: Options
VA Surrenders       VA Income Utilization       VA GMIB Annuitization       FIA Surrenders       FIA Income Utilization 1 2 3
Experience Studies – industry results in aggregate, along with your company results, in a detailed report with numerical exhibits covering key factors, cohorts, and dynamics
Customized assumption model – initially calibrated to industry results, and tailored to your company based on credibility techniques
Review of your current assumptions, and comparison to the customized model above
Benchmarking of your results relative to peers
Presentation and discussion with our team
Membership on our Behavioral Analytics Advisory Council

 

va-fia_timeline

 

Would you like to learn more about implementation and pricing?

Contact: 

Timothy Paris
860.866.7786


About Us

We aim to be the platform and industry benchmark forprinciples-based insurance data analytics and risk management.

Fueled by data contributed each year from companies comprising over $1.1 trillion of variable and fixed indexed annuity current account values, Ruark’s industry experience studies and customized dynamic behavioral model services provide clients actionable quantitative insights into complex and interrelated behaviors such as surrenders, partial withdrawals, annuitizations, and mortality, based on a combination of expert judgment and predictive modeling techniques.  As a reinsurance broker, Ruark has placed and continues to administer dozens of bespoke treaties totaling over $1.5 billion of reinsurance premium and $30 billion of account value, and also offers reinsurance audit and administration services.

We are frequent speakers at industry events on the topics of longevity, policyholder behavior and dynamic model development, product guarantees, and reinsurance.  Our work and commentary have appeared in National Underwriter, Investment News, Life Annuity Specialist (Financial Times), American Banker, Annuity News, InsuranceNewsNet, Retirement Income Journal, Insurance Risk, and The Actuary and several other newsletters and podcasts of the Society of Actuaries (SOA).  In 2018, CEO Timothy Paris was the subject of a SOA video and article about actuaries embracing predictive analytics.  Tim is also the author of the chapter Modeling and Managing Policyholder Behavior Risk in the recently published book “Non-traditional Life Insurance Products with Guarantees”.  We are active within the SOA, through elected membership on section councils, editorial work for publications, working groups, and other projects.

We enjoy an ongoing collaboration with the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut.

OUR TEAM

Timothy Paris

Timothy Paris


About Us

Contact Tim

Tim is chief executive officer at Ruark Consulting LLC, which aims to be the platform and industry benchmark for principles-based insurance data analytics and risk management.

Fueled by data contributed each year from companies comprising over $1.1 trillion of variable and fixed indexed annuity current account values, Ruark’s industry experience studies and customized dynamic behavioral model services provide clients actionable quantitative insights into complex and interrelated behaviors such as surrenders, partial withdrawals, annuitizations, and mortality, based on a combination of expert judgment and predictive modeling techniques.  As a reinsurance broker, Ruark has placed and continues to administer dozens of bespoke treaties totaling over $1.5 billion of reinsurance premium and $30 billion of account value, and also offers reinsurance audit and administration services.

Tim is an actuary, business leader, and frequent speaker at industry events on the topics of longevity, policyholder behavior and dynamic model development, product guarantees, and reinsurance.  Through his work at Ruark, in 2018 he was the subject of a Society of Actuaries (SOA) video and article about actuaries embracing predictive analytics. His work and commentary have appeared in National Underwriter, Investment News, Life Annuity Specialist (Financial Times), American Banker, Annuity News, InsuranceNewsNet, Retirement Income Journal, Insurance Risk, and The Actuary and several other newsletters and podcasts of the SOA.  Tim is also the author of the chapter Modeling and Managing Policyholder Behavior Risk in the recently published book “Non-traditional Life Insurance Products with Guarantees”.

Tim is active within the SOA as leader of the Assumption Development and Governance Subgroup of the Modeling Section, and member of the Policyholder Behavior in the Tail working group of the Joint Risk Management Section.  He has previously served as an elected member of the Reinsurance Section Council, Caribbean Editor for the International Section magazine, and Contributing Editor for The Actuary magazine.

Tim is a member of the Advisory Board of the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut, and member of the Board of Directors of Retirement Income Group Limited (New Zealand).  He has previously served as a member of the Business Advisory Panel of Insurance Ireland, and member of the Financial Reporting Committee of the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers Association.

Tim is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he earned a BS in Mathematics with high honors.

Claudia Berns


About Us

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After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Claudia began her career at the Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford CT in the Life, Health and Financial Services Department.  She then accepted a position at GE as a Financial Analyst.  Claudia was selected as an internal recruit for the prestigious Financial Management Program where she gained extensive experience in various areas including accounting, sourcing, cost estimating and project management.

Before joining Ruark, she was an integral part of a start-up small business which she successfully managed for over ten years.  In her current position, she is responsible for operations support and project management.

Michael Doyle


About Us

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Mike Doyle serves as the Information Technology Director for Ruark. He has been working in the technology field for over twenty years. During this time, he has held a number of leadership positions.

Mike ran his own technology firm which Ruark Consulting integrated into the Data and Technology Practice in 2012. He has also held senior positions in industries such as Software, Manufacturing, Marketing, Distribution and Business Consulting.

He brings his depth of experience, technical skills and management capabilities to The Ruark Companies where he supports the production, administration and management operations.

When not working on an computer Mike can be found with his family or on a soccer field.

Peter Gourley


About Us

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Peter is responsible for Ruark’s experience studies. These studies provide clear, reliable, and useful information to client company audiences. Peter joined the company in January, 2002 and has been involved in all aspects of the company in his tenure.

In his 20-year career prior to Ruark, Peter served in a variety of actuarial roles in many areas at CIGNA and Lincoln National. Peter graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in mathematics. He lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut with his wife, Ruth Ann Woodley, another actuary in the Ruark pantheon of companies

Eric Halpern


About Us

Contact Eric

Eric Halpern is Chief Operating Officer of Ruark Consulting. In this role, he leads the company’s policyholder behavioral analytics work, including industry- and company-level experience studies, predictive modeling and assumption model development, and related client projects. Eric provides leadership for these products from an actuarial, work process, and information technology standpoint.

Eric comes to Ruark with over 20 years’ experience in actuarial science, financial modeling, risk management, and investment management. Most recently, he was VP of Global Hedging Programs for White Mountains Life Re (Bermuda), a global reinsurer of variable annuity guarantees, where he was responsible for day-to-day management of the company’s financial risk mitigation program. He has also held annuity risk management positions at Phoenix and Cigna, as well as diverse actuarial staff positions at Cigna. Eric holds a BS in Mathematics from Yale University and is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

In addition to his work at Ruark, Eric teaches insurance risk management in the Master’s Program in Financial Risk Management at the University of Connecticut School of Business. He lives with his family in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Mike Loftus


About Us

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Mike joined Ruark in January, 2005 and is involved in all aspects of the company, including consulting, reinsurance reporting, and peer review.

Mike came from The Hartford where he worked as a Pricing Actuary for Group Annuities. Prior to that, Mike had a distinguished 15-year career at CIGNA with responsibilities in CIGNA’s Pension and Healthcare operations.

Mike is a graduate of American International College where he earned his BA in Mathematics in 1983. He lives in Windsor, CT with his wife, Molly, and three children.

Judy Mason


About Us

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Judy joined Ruark in January, 2001. As an Analyst/Manager, she handles a broad range of duties including client reporting, budgeting and financial reporting, tax filing, invoicing and banking. Before joining RIA, Judy worked at CIGNA for many years.

Judy resides with her husband, Scott, in Windsor, Connecticut

Sally Osit


About Us

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Sally joined Ruark in July, 2001, where she focused on reinsurance program reporting, including book of business reviews, experience studies, and program renewals. Currently, as Chief Administrative Officer, she has led the administration of Ruark as it grows its consulting, reinsurance & experience studies offerings.

Sally has over 24 years of varied insurance industry experience. Prior to joining Ruark, Sally held a position of Director of Integration & Synergy with CIGNA Health Services. She also has a wide variety of both pricing and financial reporting experience, having managed cash flow testing for all of CIGNA’s pension products as well as pricing for CIGNA’s dental, COLI, and 401(k) products.

Sally is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she earned her BA in Actuarial Science in 1990. She currently lives in South Windsor, Connecticut with her husband, Alan, and three children.

Michael Riley


About Us

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Michael joined Ruark in 2018 as a Data Engineer. In this role, Michael is responsible for management of the firm’s data architecture, including production processes and ongoing development.

Previously Michael was Vice President in Information Systems at Conning managing the investment data warehouse, accounting systems and back office support. He has 30 years’ experience in investments including 20 years managing investment data warehouses. Michael has also worked in various areas at MetLife, Citigroup and Travelers.

Michael earned his CPA in 1981 and Certified Scrum Master in 2017.

Michael graduated from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, with a BA in accounting. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut with his wife, family and 2 poodles.

Don Ruark


About Us

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Don joined Ruark as our Chief Financial Officer in September 2010.

Graduated with Bachelors of Business Administration in 1977 from Eastern Michigan University.

Became a CPA in 1979.

35 years experience, including both the public and private sectors.

Don Resides in Canton MI with wife Kayla, youngest daughter Alyse, and Scout the dog.

Randy Schott


About Us

Contact Randy

Randy joined Ruark in 2012 with over 15 years in the insurance industry and actuarial environments.

Prior to joining the company, Randy was involved in Small Group Medical Pricing with Aetna and United Healthcare.  He also has experience with state filings, pension analysis and Underwriting.

Randy is a graduate of The University of Connecticut.  He lives in Vernon Connecticut with his wife and family.

Eric Swan FSA - Ruark Consulting

Eric Swan


About Us

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Eric joined Ruark in 2009 with over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry.

Before joining the company, Eric was an Assistant Vice President at MetLife, responsible for product development and pricing of Corporate Owned Life Insurance products. Eric also has experience in pricing retail Universal Life and annuity products, state insurance department and SEC filings, cash flow testing and Illustration Actuary product compliance.

Eric graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colby College, where he earned a BA in Economics/Mathematics. He lives in Suffield, Connecticut with his wife and two children.

Ruth Ann Woodley


About Us

Contact Ruth Ann

Ruth Ann joined Ruark Consulting in 2004 and developed its dental consulting practice. In 2018, that practice became Dental Actuarial Analytics, LLC, an affiliate of Ruark.

Prior to joining Ruark, Ruth Ann spent 11 years with Cigna. There she served as the actuary for Cigna Dental and the reserving actuary for Cigna Healthcare, among other roles. She is involved in volunteer work for the Society of Actuaries and the National Association of Dental Plans.

She is originally from North Carolina, where she graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with degrees in both mathematics and music. She lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut with her husband Peter Gourley.

Steve Wright


About Us

Contact Steve

Steve joined Ruark in 2009 with 17 years of insurance experience, most recently as a principal in a small reinsurance underwriting company. Prior to that he was at The Phoenix and the former Connecticut Mutual, which included positions in Group and Special Risk reinsurance and Ordinary Life reinsurance. Along the way, he also served a few years as a CT-certified high school math teacher, where he beat into his students the love of math.

Currently, Steve is spearheading Ruark’s growth into predictive modeling and assumption setting. His programming abilities and actuarial expertise have also been leveraged to further enhance the company’s annuity industry experience studies.

Steve is a graduate of Bates College where he earned a BS in mathematics, is a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries, and is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.