Announcement: SOA congratulates the new ASAs and CERAs for May 2022.

Financial Reporting Research Update

By Mark Walker and Ronora Stryker

The Financial Reporter, July 2021


Research is a primary mission of the Financial Reporting Section and a significant use of our section dues revenue. Here is an update, as of May 2021, on projects in process and those recently completed.

Currently In Process

“UL Premium Persistency and Funding Policy Experience Study.” This project updates the 2018 LIMRA and SOA 2009-13 lapse/surrender and premium persistency experience for individual flexible premium UL products. While in the early stages, the research will also extend the existing analysis to include the impact of product design differences.

“Cause of Death Mortality by Socioeconomic Category in the United States.” The purpose of this study is to construct a set of cause of death life tables for groups of counties based on their relative socioeconomic position. Research recently began on this project.

“Mortality Improvement Trend Analysis.” This research examines the key drivers of mortality improvement and how they vary. Proprietary U.S. Census data has recently been secured for the study and the data is being analyzed with a goal of completing the study by end of third quarter of 2021.

“Obesity Trends and the Mortality and Morbidity Impacts.” The project will include a literature review to examine the most current data and research focused on obesity and measuring its impact on the U.S. and Canadian populations. Statistically significant differences in the risk of medical issues, treatment, and mortality rates related to obesity will be identified and the additional dollar cost of obesity in the U.S. and Canada will be estimated. Work is underway with the project targeted to be complete by the end of the year. 

“14th Annual Emerging Risk Survey.” This survey tracks risk managers thoughts on emerging risks across time identifying trends and examining the evolution of risk management practices. The current survey was administered in late 2020. The short report summarizing key findings has been posted on the SOA website at The full report is expected to be available during the summer.

Recently Completed

“Mortality by Socioeconomic Category in the United States.” The purpose of this study is to construct a set of life tables for groups of counties based on their relative socioeconomic position.

“Living to 100.” This research initiative focuses on aging—increases in survival rates and the resulting increase in aging populations—together with its implications to social, financial, retirement and health care systems. It involves a symposium that was held in January and generates a lasting body of research to educate and aid individuals and policymakers in addressing the potential needs and services of the future advanced-age populations. Recordings of the sessions and research papers presented at the event are available in an online monograph.

“Delphi Study of Economic Variables.” This study uses a Delphi Study framework to gather insights on the thought processes experts employ to estimate future values of economic variables.

“Simplified Methods for Principle-Based Reserve Calculations.” This project investigates a simplified approach for determining principle-based reserves.

“Macroeconomics-Based Economic Scenario Generation.” This project intends to find a practical way to improve economic scenario generators by studying the causes of economic development, economic volatility and capital market volatility.

“Simplified Issue Underwriting.” This research explores the application of simplified issue underwriting in the life insurance industry. Among the areas studied are the definition, developments, characteristics, challenges, current practices, assumptions and data elements for simplified underwriting.

Request for Research Proposals

Do you have an idea for a research topic you would like to see the Financial Reporting Section consider for funding? If so, we want to hear from you! For more information, please contact Mark Walker or Ronora Stryker.

Mark Walker, FSA, is a retired actuary and a member of the Financial Reporting Section Council. He can be reached at

Ronora Stryker, ASA, MAAA, is a research actuary for the Society of Actuaries. She can be reached at