Actuarial valuation: Mortality improvement scale

Nov 03, 2022
Audit Financial services Financial reporting Insurance

Professional associations of actuaries and actuarial companies occasionally develop and publish updated mortality tables to reflect changes in mortality conditions based on recent historical trends and other information. In October 2021, the Society of Actuaries released a mortality improvement scale, Scale MP- 2021, which plan sponsors have been required to consider when measuring benefit costs and obligations of plans that provide benefits based on the life expectancy of participants.

Breaking with their past practice, the Society of Actuaries has determined that they will NOT be releasing a new mortality improvement scale in 2022. Therefore MP-2021 remains the most recently issued scale. The Society of Actuaries has concluded that mortality data impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was not applicable to the construction of the MP-2021 scale but would have been applicable to the construction of the MP-2022 scale, is of uncertain value in predicting future mortality, and they will continue to study that issue as they review more data. How this will affect the construction of mortality improvement scales in future years is unknown, and the MP-2021 scale will remain the most recently issued scale until further notice. Refer to RPEC 2022 Mortality Improvement Update for the Society of Actuaries’ complete 2022 update.

While the Society of Actuaries did not release a new mortality improvement scale, they have released tools and data that individual actuaries may use to create their own estimates of future mortality improvement. Actuaries have only rarely used these tools in the past but may do so more often in the absence of an updated scale.

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