The Committee on Life Insurance Mortality and Underwriting Surveys of the Society of Actuaries sent
companies a survey in May of 2019 on mortality improvement practices as of year-end 2018. The survey
results were released in January 2022. The survey was completed by respondents prior to the onset of
COVID-19. The present report provides an opportunity to update the results for pandemic-based changes
and compare the before and after surveys.
The 2022 survey was opened in March 2022 and closed by the end of April. Thirty-five respondent
companies participated in this survey, with 29 from the U.S. and six from Canada. This group was further
divided between direct writers (26) and reinsurers (nine).
This survey focused on the use of mortality improvement and how it has changed for financial projection
and pricing modeling following the initial stages of COVID-19. Details regarding assumptions and opinions
on mortality improvement in general were asked of the respondents.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners discussions on mortality improvement factors due to
COVID-19 for reserving purposes have taken place, but this survey was conducted before any adjustments
reacting to them.
Seventy-four percent (26 of 35) of respondents indicated using durational mortality improvement
assumptions in their life and annuity pricing and/or financial projections. Moreover, of those that used
durational mortality improvement assumptions, attained age and gender were the top two characteristics
in which assumptions varied.
Respondents were asked to indicate the different limitations when applying durational mortality
improvement assumptions. The Survey found that the most common lowest and highest attained age to
which durational mortality improvement was applied were 0 and about 100, respectively. The lowest and
highest durational mortality improvement rate ranged from -1.50% (deterioration) to 2.80%
(improvement). The time period in which the mortality improvement rates were applied ranged from 10 to
120 years, but this varied between life (10/120) and annuities (30/120). The most common time period was
20 to 30 years for life; less consensus was seen for annuities. Analysis is provided in Appendix C for
instances when highlights are shared in the body of the report.
Author(s): Ronora Stryker, Max Rudolph
Publication Date: December 2022
Publication Site: SOA Research Institute