In the PBRAR, VM-31 3.D.2.e.(iv) requires the actuary to discuss “which risks, if any, are not included in the model” and 3.D.2.e.(v) requires a discussion of “any limitations of the model that could materially impact the NPR [net premium reserve], DR [deterministic reserve] or SR [stochastic reserve].” ASOP No. 56 Section 3.2 states that, when expressing an opinion on or communicating results of the model, the actuary should understand: (a) important aspects of the model being used, including its basic operations, dependencies, and sensitivities; (b) known weaknesses in assumptions used as input and known weaknesses in methods or other known limitations of the model that have material implications; and (c) limitations of data or information, time constraints, or other practical considerations that could materially impact the model’s ability to meet its intended purpose.
Together, both VM-31 and ASOP No. 56 require the actuary (i.e., any actuary working with or responsible for the model and its output) to not only know and understand but communicate these limitations to stakeholders. An example of this may be reinsurance modeling. A common technique in modeling the many treaties of yearly renewable term (YRT) reinsurance of a given cohort of policies is to use a simplification, where YRT premium rates are blended according to a weighted average of net amounts at risk. That is to say, the treaties are not modeled seriatim but as an aggregate or blended treaty applicable to amounts in excess of retention. This approach assumes each third-party reinsurer is as solvent as the next. The actuary must ask, “Is there a risk that is ignored by the model because of the approach to modeling YRT reinsurance?” and “Does this simplification present a limitation that could materially impact the net premium reserve, deterministic reserve or stochastic reserve?”
Understanding limitations of a model requires understanding the end-to-end process that moves from data and assumptions to results and analysis. The extract-transform-load (ETL) process actually fits well with the ASOP No. 56 definition of a model, which is: “A model consists of three components: an information input component, which delivers data and assumptions to the model; a processing component, which transforms input into output; and a results component, which translates the output into useful business information.” Many actuaries work with models on a daily basis, yet it helps to revisit this important definition. Many would not recognize the routine step of accessing the policy level data necessary to create an in-force file as part of the model itself. The actuary should ask, “Are there risks introduced by the frontend or backend processing in the ETL routine?” and “What mitigations has the company established over time to address these risks?”
The pay difference between those who stay and those who changed jobs is growing, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Job stayers, or people who stayed in their job for the past three months, increased their wages by about 4.7% as of June 2022. Meanwhile, those who switched jobs received a raise of 6.4%. The gap is the largest in two decades.
Workers are facing fast-rising prices on gas, groceries, rent and other essentials. Even in a tight labor market, many workers aren’t getting a large enough pay increase at their current job to keep up with inflation, say workers and economists who study the labor market. As a result, some Americans are reconsidering expenses they once considered affordable, while many also are looking for a new job with a bigger paycheck to keep up.
Prof. Yongseok Shin, an economics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says inflation and the ability to get higher wages by changing companies are pushing many to move on. Some 47 million Americans have changed jobs in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “I think the workers are paying a lot more attention,” said Prof. Shin. “They are comparing their wage growth with the headline inflation numbers.”
Data sources The provisional weekly deaths are available from: • ONS (England & Wales) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/wee klyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales • NRS (Scotland) https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/covid19stats • NISRA (Northern Ireland) https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/death-statistics/weekly-death-registrations-northern-ireland
Dr. Ding is a member of a shrinking club of people who are pretty sure they have never been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Geneticists and immunologists are studying factors that might protect people from infection, and learning why some are predisposed to more severe Covid-19 disease.
For many, the explanation is likely that they have in fact been infected with the virus at some point without realizing it, said Susan Kline, professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. About 40% of confirmed Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, according to a meta-analysis published in December in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More than two years into the pandemic, most people worldwide have likely been infected with the virus at least once, epidemiologists said. Some 58% of people in the U.S. had contracted Covid-19 through February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated. Since then, a persistent wave driven by offshoots of the infectious Omicron variant has kept daily known cases in the U.S. above 100,000 for weeks.
Yet some people haven’t gotten sick or tested positive.
In health insurance, with the continual spike in Medicare, we forecast a huge shift towards this area and Medicaid in 2022, and beyond. With the way that the market has evolved, it’s possible that actuaries with experience in Medicare will be in-demand, especially as bid season is fast approaching. Alongside proficiency in risk adjustment, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) recently added a new exam for predictive analytics.
As always, for the property & casualty sector, the key modelling skillsets going into 2022 is R and Python. With the rise in cyber and ransomware attacks, this might result in a boom in cyber insurance and simultaneously the specialists, minimum of 2-3 years in underwriting, to better service this demand. In addition to fluency in modelling, designations from Associates of the Casualty Actuary Society (ACAS) and Fellowship of the Casualty Actuary Society (FCAS), has importance to employers and therefore significant currency in the market.
The impact of Covid-19 in South Africa in terms of excess deaths was substantial, when considering the reported excess deaths as published by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Please note that in this article we will not further consider whether all excess deaths can be directly attributed to Covid-19, however, as per the article “Correlation of Excess Natural Deaths with Other Measures of the Covid-19 Pandemic in South Africa,” it is estimated that 85 percent to 95 percent of excess natural deaths are attributable to Covid-19.
Based on the SAMRC excess deaths, taking the expected plus excess deaths as Actual and expected natural deaths as per their methodology as Expected, we observe an Actual versus Expected (AvE) ratio of 116 percent in 2020, a ratio of 131 percent in 2021, and a ratio of 113 percent in 2022 up to May 1. When we look at the AvE for each wave, we can see that the 2nd wave (predominantly Beta variant) and the 3rd wave (predominantly Delta variant), had the most severe impact on the general population (see figure 2 and figure 3)
We assessed how many U.S. deaths would have been averted each year, 1933-2021, if U.S. age-specific mortality rates had equaled those of other wealthy nations. The annual number of excess deaths in the U.S. increased steadily beginning in the late 1970s, reaching 626,353 in 2019. Excess deaths surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, there were 1,092,293 “Missing Americans” and 25 million years of life lost due to excess mortality relative to peer nations. In 2021, half of all deaths under 65 years and 91% of the increase in under-65 mortality since 2019 would have been avoided if the U.S. had the mortality rates of its peers. Black and Native Americans made up a disproportionate share of Missing Americans, although the majority were White.
One sentence summary In 2021, 1.1 million U.S. deaths – including 1 in 2 deaths under age 65 years – would have been averted if the U.S. had the mortality rates of other wealthy nations.
Jacob Bor, View ORCID ProfileAndrew C. Stokes, Julia Raifman, Atheendar Venkataramani, Mary T. Bassett, David Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler
About 30% of the contribution to excess mortality for young adults in 2021 came from drug overdoses.
The percentage contribution to excess mortality of drug ODs was not that different by age group over the 18-39 age span.
COVID as a contribution to excess mortality was higher for older people —- for those age 35-39, 36% of their excess mortality came from COVID in 2021. In contrast, for those age 18-24, only 17% of their excess mortality came from COVID.
Indeed, the youngest of the adults (age 18-24) had higher contributions from homicide (20% of excess mortality) and had comparable excess mortality contribution from motor vehicle accidents (16%) in 2021.
That may spur retirement fund managers to reconsider their commitments to ESG funds. But new ESG-favoring regulations may come to the rescue. Last year the U.S. Labor Department proposed a regulation that would tell retirement-fund managers to consider ESG factors such as “climate change” and “collateral benefits other than investment returns” when investing employees’ money.
This would encourage America’s perpetually underfunded pension plans to invest in politically correct but unproven ESG strategies. It would also violate retirees’ basic right to have their money invested solely to advance their financial interests.
The new regulation may also expose fiduciaries who don’t consider ESG factors to lawsuits. Already, activist shareholders are pursuing litigation against public companies that don’t take ESG-approved steps. NortonLifeLock was sued for allegedly breaching its fiduciary duties by telling investors it was committed to “diversity” when it had no racial minorities on its board. Exxon was sued for allegedly misleading investors by failing to disclose the likely effect of climate change on its bottom line. To date, courts have generally found that no reasonable investor would make investment decisions based on board diversity or, as one judge put it, “speculative assumptions of costs that may be incurred 20+ or 30+ years in the future.”
The private market for flood insurance in the United States measures approximately $300 million in annual premium. This is less than 10 percent of the $3.7 billion in flood insurance premium written by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Private insurers offering flood insurance are not operating on the same playing field because many NFIP policies are subsidized and underpriced. The creativity of private insurers, guided by the dynamics of a free and competitive market, will eventually drive out inefficiency and false price signals, and make available to homeowners and businesses the flood insurance they need at the right cost.
We invite you to an online discussion examining the obstacles and opportunities for private insurers featuring flood insurance entrepreneur Trevor Burgess, and R Street’s Jerry Theodorou and Caroline Melear.
Author(s): Jerry Theodorou, Trevor Burgess, Caroline Melear
As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s comprehensive safety strategy to prevent traffic deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a public education campaign across the country to address one of America’s most dangerous driving behaviors. Tomorrow, the agency kicks off the Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign aimed at changing general attitudes toward speeding and reminding drivers of the deadly consequences.
The campaign, which will run July 20-August 14, is supported by an $8 million national media buy featuring English and Spanish-language ads running on television, radio and digital platforms. The ads target drivers ages 18 to 44, who data show are most likely to be involved in speeding-related fatal crashes.
According to NHTSA data, 11,258 people died in speeding-related crashes in 2020, and speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all fatal crashes. Even with fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, 2020 saw a dramatic increase (17%) in speeding-related deaths compared to 2019. The data also showed additional concerning statistics in 2020:
Local roads saw the most speeding, with 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurring on non-interstate roads.
Speeding contributed to 37% of the fatal crashes in work zones.
Speeding was a factor in more fatal crashes on wet roads than dry roads.
Drinking and speeding is the deadliest combination. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, 37% were speeding and had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
Today, small commercial insurers can leverage AI/ML data and analytics as part of a holistic solution to transition from manual underwriting workflows that lean on lengthy applications and web research to one where quotes are issued and most policies are bound automatically and (nearly) instantly.
The journey has three broad phases.
Step 1: Prefill: Leveraging an array of data sources, including unstructured data sourced from computer vision algorithms, insurers can prefill application data on small commercial risks using just a business name and address. Human underwriters can then review this information against underwriting guidelines without having to chase down data through web searches or phone calls.
Step 2: Selective automation: Based on risk appetite, certain industry classes can be identified for automated underwriting. In this environment, application data is prefilled and then automatically analyzed against insurer underwriting guidelines to determine acceptance or whether additional information is required.
Step 3: Full-blown automation: As insurers learn from step two, it’s a short leap to step three, which is to fold additional businesses into the automated workflow. Even in a fully automated environment, there are some risk exposures that may trigger manual reviews of submissions. But by leveraging the efficiency gains delivered by application prefill and the automated underwriting of select industry classes, insurers can set themselves up to drive automation across a much wider array of risks than they ever thought possible.