Mortality Improvement Trend - Independent Analysis

Background and Purpose

Mortality improvement is an important assumption for projecting future liability cashflows and has a material financial impact on a company.  Mortality improvement is a hot topic in the industry and companies show significant interest in understanding the key factors that differentiate mortality improvement. The focus of this research is to gain a better understanding of the following main drivers of mortality improvement: 

  • Socioeconomic level (Marital status, occupation, income, education)
  • Gender
  • Attained age
  • Geographical and Demographical differences
  • Cause of death
  • Calendar year
  • Birth-year cohort

Note that the above list is not meant to be exhaustive but merely examples of proposed factors that may be researched. The research will focus on the most impactful factors.

The purpose of this project is to assess how mortality improvement varies by the key elements listed above and identify other possible factors.

The conclusions reached from this study will assist direct insurers and reinsurers in setting their mortality improvement assumption.

Research Objective

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section is seeking researchers to review and analyze general population data. The researcher(s) will identify how mortality improvement varies by the key drivers and how these results derived from the population mortality analysis apply to the insured population. The researcher(s) will prepare a comprehensive report describing their model and their findings including plausible mortality improvement range as it applies to each group as well as describing how this research complements the existing research on this subject.  This report will be made available to the SOA membership.


To facilitate the evaluation of proposals, the following information should be submitted:

  1. Resumes of the researcher(s), including any graduate student(s) expected to participate, indicating how their background, education and experience bear on their qualifications to undertake the research. If more than one researcher is involved, a single individual should be designated as the lead researcher and primary contact. The person submitting the proposal must be authorized to speak on behalf of all the researchers as well as for the firm or institution on whose behalf the proposal is submitted.
  2. An outline of the approach to be used (e.g. literature search, model, etc.), emphasizing issues that require special consideration. Details should be given regarding the techniques to be used, collateral material to be consulted, and possible limitations of the analysis.
  3. The researcher(s) will propose the data source and explain why this data source is selected. Possible population data sources to consider but not limited to are MP 2014-2018 and CDC data.
  4. A description of the expected deliverables and any supporting data, tools or other resources.
  5. Cost estimates for the research, including computer time, salaries, report preparation, material costs, etc. Such estimates can be in the form of hourly rates, but in such cases, time estimates should also be included. Any guarantees as to total cost should be given and will be considered in the evaluation of the proposal. While cost will be a factor in the evaluation of the proposal, it will not necessarily be the decisive factor. Total cost should not exceed $60K.
  6. A schedule for completion of the research, identifying key dates or time frames for research completion and report submissions. The SOA Reinsurance Research Section is interested in completing this project in a timely manner.  Suggestions in the proposal for ensuring timely delivery, such as fee adjustments, are encouraged.
  7. Other related factors that give evidence of a proposer's capabilities to perform in a superior fashion should be detailed.

Selection Process

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section will appoint a Project Oversight Group (POG) to oversee the project.  The SOA Reinsurance Research Section is responsible for recommending the proposal to be funded.  Input from other knowledgeable individuals also may be sought, but the SOA Reinsurance Research Section will make the final recommendation, subject to SOA leadership approval. The SOA's Research Actuary will provide staff actuarial support.


Any questions regarding this RFP should be directed to Ronora Stryker, SOA Research Actuary (phone: 847-706-3614; email:    

Notification of Intent to Submit Proposal

If you intend to submit a proposal, please e-mail written notification by September 6th , 2019 to Jan Schuh.

Submission of Proposal

Please e-mail a copy of the proposal to  Jan Schuh.

Proposals must be received no later than September 20th, 2019.   It is anticipated that all proposers will be informed of the status of their proposal by the end of November,  2019.

Note: Proposals are considered confidential and proprietary.


The selection of a proposal is conditioned upon and not considered final until a Letter of Agreement is executed by both the Society of Actuaries and the researcher.

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section reserves the right to not award a contract for this research. Reasons for not awarding a contract could include, but are not limited to, a lack of acceptable proposals or a finding that insufficient funds are available. The SOA Reinsurance Research Section also reserves the right to redirect the project as is deemed advisable.

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section plans to hold the copyright to the research and to publish the results with appropriate credit given to the researcher(s).

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section may choose to seek public exposure or media attention for the research.  By submitting a proposal, you agree to cooperate with the SOA Reinsurance Research Section in publicizing or promoting the research and responding to media requests.

The SOA Reinsurance Research Section may also choose to market and promote the research to members, candidates and other interested parties.  You agree to perform promotional communication requested by the SOA Reinsurance Research Section, which may include, but is not limited to, leading a webcast on the research, presenting the research at an SOA meeting, and/or writing an article on the research for an SOA newsletter.