A Workplan to Identify & Remove Unnecessary Barriers to Producer Licensure

Link: https://www.acli.com/-/media/acli/public/files/news-release-pdfs/workplan_barrierstoproducerlicensure09192022_final.pdf



There have been recent efforts by the NAIC to report on the steps exam vendors have taken to mitigate
cultural bias in producer licensing exams; however, based on state-level data, this issue deserves closer

There are only seven states that annually prepare and publish licensing exam pass rates by
demographic, including race/ethnicity. For more than a decade, these reports have routinely shown
Caucasian/white candidates scoring higher than other demographic groups across nearly all lines.

When comparing Life Insurance Exam Pass Rates by Race/Ethnicity, an alarming trend appears. It’s clear
that non-Caucasians or non-white demographics are not efficiently making it through the licensing
process. This clearly suggests licensing exams warrant more scrutiny, particularly to ensure these tests
are not screening diversity from the industry.

Author(s): ACLI, NAIFA, Finseca

Publication Date: Sept 2022

Publication Site: ACLI


Link: https://www.actuary.org/sites/default/files/2022-08/IABAAug2022_Sandberg_Presentation.pdf



Systemic Influences and Socioeconomics
❑ Checking for and removing of systemic biases is difficult.
❑ Systemic biases can creep in at every step of the modeling process: data,
algorithms, and validation of results.
❑ Human involvement in designing and coding algorithms, where there is a lack of diversity
among coders
❑ Biases embedded in training datasets
❑ Use of variables that proxy for membership in a protected class
❑ Statistical discrimination profiling shopping behavior, such as price optimization
❑ Technology-facilitated advertising algorithms used in ad targeting and ad delivery

Author(s): David Sandberg, Data Science and Analytics Committee, AAA

Publication Date: August 2022

Publication Site: American Academy of Actuaries

Covid Still Kills, but the Demographics of Its Victims Are Shifting

Link: https://khn.org/news/article/covid-still-kills-but-the-demographics-of-its-victims-are-shifting/



Californians age 75 and older made up 53% of covid deaths through July in 2022, up from 46% in 2020 and 2021. Only about 6% of the state’s residents are 75 and older. And white Californians 75 and older outnumber Latinos in that age group about 3 to 1.

In the initial vaccination rollout, California prioritized seniors, first responders, and other essential workers, and for several months in 2021 older residents were much more likely to be vaccinated than younger Californians.

“Now, the vaccination rates have caught up pretty much with everybody except for kids, people under 18,” Brewer said. “You’re seeing it go back to what we saw before, which is that age remains the most important risk factor for death.”

Author(s): Phillip Reese

Publication Date: SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

Publication Site: KFF

World Suicide Prevention Day: U.S. Suicide Trend Update through 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/world-suicide-prevention-day-us-suicide



In updating the 2021 numbers, there is some bad news: while suicide rates had decreased in 2020, in 2021 they increased to continue a worrying trend:

The increase in 2021 brought the age-adjusted death rate back to a level close to the peak, which was in 2018.

As noted on the graph, the cumulative increase in the age-adjusted death rate from the minimum in 2000 to the current levels has been 35%. This is very worrying.

I could have exaggerated this trend by starting my vertical scale at 10 instead of 0, but I think it’s obvious enough the trend is bad.

I don’t need to exaggerate.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 10 Sep 2022

Publication Site: STUMP on substack

Two Key Takeaways From The New CDC Life Expectancy Data

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2022/09/02/two-key-takeaways-from-the-new-cdc-life-expectancy-data/?sh=6ce149f31cfc


To what extent, are these drops of life expectancy due to Covid-19, rather than other causes?

From 2019 to 2020, the CDC reports that 90% of the drop in Hispanic life expectancy was attributable to Covid; the corresponding rates were 68% for whites and 59% for blacks. (No breakdown was provided for the AIAN or Asian categories.) However, the CDC data splits its breakdowns into “contributions to decreases” and “contributions to increases” rather than overall net effect. Those readers who are used to looking at data and charts will expect a “waterfall” style chart; the CDC version is not this, and is not particularly helpful.

In any event, relative to the 2020 baseline, the further decreases in life expectancy during 2021 had multiple causes. Only among the White demographic group was Covid the cause of over half of the decline; unintentional injury (including overdoses) was the second-largest contributing factor and for the AIAN demographic group, worsening rates of death due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis played almost as substantial a role.

And, finally, it is important to understand that the CDC data shows a continued improvement in life expectancy due to reductions in death due to such causes as influenza/pneumonia, COPD/emphysema, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, and perinatal conditions (infant deaths). In fact, strikingly, in 2021, heart disease was a contributor to increased life expectancy in the Black, Hispanic, and Asian demographic groups, but a contributor to decreased life expectancy for the White and AIAN groups.

Again, though, the way the CDC provides its information means that, when it comes down to it, there is much that is simply missing; we do not know the magnitude of the improvements in life expectancy due to these causes, just that it exists. It even seems likely, or at least possible, that some of the apparent improvement in mortality due to these factors was actually because deaths were actually recorded as Covid deaths instead (whether due to multiple causes of death or other reasons).

Author(s): Elizabeth Bauer

Publication Date: 2 Sept 2022

Publication Site: Forbes

Excess mortality in England

Link: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYmUwNmFhMjYtNGZhYS00NDk2LWFlMTAtOTg0OGNhNmFiNGM0IiwidCI6ImVlNGUxNDk5LTRhMzUtNGIyZS1hZDQ3LTVmM2NmOWRlODY2NiIsImMiOjh9

Data download:



The numbers of expected deaths are estimated using statistical models and based on previous 5 years’ (2015 to 2019) mortality rates. Weekly monitoring of excess mortality from all causes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic provides an objective and comparable measure of the scale of the pandemic [reference 1]. Measuring excess mortality from all causes, instead of focusing solely on mortality from COVID-19, overcomes the issues of variation in testing and differential coding of cause of death between individuals and over time [reference 1].

In the weekly reports, estimates of excess deaths are presented by week of registration at national and subnational level, for subgroups of the population (age groups, sex, deprivation groups, ethnic groups) and by cause of death and place of death.

Author(s): Office for Health Improvement and Disparities

Publication Date: accessed 10 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Public PowerBI dashboard

What can go wrong? Exploring racial equity dataviz and deficit thinking, with Pieta Blakely.

Link: https://3iap.com/what-can-go-wrong-racial-equity-data-visualization-deficit-thinking-VV8acXLQQnWvvg4NLP9LTA/



For anti-racist dataviz, our most effective tool is context. The way that data is framed can make a very real impact on how it’s interpreted. For example, this case study from the New York Times shows two different framings of the same economic data and how, depending on where the author starts the X-Axis, it can tell 2 very different — but both accurate — stories about the subject.

As Pieta previously highlighted, dataviz in spaces that address race / ethnicity are sensitive to “deficit framing.” That is, when it’s presented in a way that over-emphasizes differences between groups (while hiding the diversity of outcomes within groups), it promotes deficit thinking (see below) and can reinforce stereotypes about the (often minoritized) groups in focus.

In a follow up study, Eli and Cindy Xiong (of UMass’ HCI-VIS Lab) confirmed Pieta’s arguments, showing that even “neutral” data visualizations of outcome disparities can lead to deficit thinking (and therefore stereotyping) and that the way visualizations are designed can significantly impact these harmful tendencies.

Author(s): Eli Holder, Pieta Blakely

Publication Date: 2 Aug 2022

Publication Site: 3iap

“Dispersion & Disparity” Research Project Results

Link: https://3iap.com/dispersion-disparity-equity-centered-data-visualization-research-project-Wi-58RCVQNSz6ypjoIoqOQ/


The same dataset, visualized two different ways. The left fixates on between-group differences, which can encourage stereotyping. The right shows both between and within group differences, which may discourage viewers’ tendencies to stereotype the groups being visualized.


Ignoring or deemphasizing uncertainty in dataviz can create false impressions of group homogeneity (low outcome variance). If stereotypes stem from false impressions of group homogeneity, then the way visualizations represent uncertainty (or choose to ignore it) could exacerbate these false impressions of homogeneity and mislead viewers toward stereotyping.

If this is the case, then social-outcome-disparity visualizations that hide within-group variability (e.g. a bar chart without error bars) would elicit more harmful stereotyping than visualizations that emphasize within-group variance (e.g. a jitter plot).

Author(s): Stephanie Evergreen

Publication Date: 2 Aug 2022

Publication Site: 3iap

Missing Americans: Early Death in the United States, 1933-2021

Link: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.29.22277065v1.full


Age-specific mortality trends in the U.S. and other wealthy nations.Source: Human Mortality Database. Note: Figure shows deaths per 100K population, (A) 1933-2021 and (B) 2000-2021. Dark red line is U.S.; pink line is population-weighted average of other wealthy nations; grey lines are country-specific trends for other countries.


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

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.06.29.22277065

Publication Date: 30 Jun 2022

Publication Site: MedRXiV

Racial Disparities in Maternal Health

Link: https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021/09-15-Racial-Disparities-in-Maternal-Health.pdf



Over the past two decades, the U.S. maternal mortality rate has not improved while maternal
mortality rates have decreased for other regions of the world. Furthermore, the rate at which
women in the U.S. experience short-term or long-term negative health consequences due to
unexpected outcomes of pregnancy or childbirth has also steadily increased over the past few
decades, with nearly 50,000 women in the U.S. experiencing these health consequences in 2014.
Significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in both the rate of women in the U.S. who die due
to complications of pregnancy or delivery and the rate that women experience negative health
consequences due to unexpected pregnancy or childbirth outcomes.


Compared to any other racial or ethnic group,7 Black8 women experience the highest rates of
nearly all of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) severe maternal morbidity9
indicators.10 Black women in the U.S. are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related
complications than White11 women in the U.S., and Native American12 women are more than 2
times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women in the U.S.13
Pregnancy-related mortality is also slightly elevated for Asian women (a 1.1 disparity ratio),14
and for Hispanic women in some geographic areas.15 Moreover, the risk of pregnancy-related
death is so elevated for Black women in certain regions of the U.S. that it is comparable to the

rate of pregnancy-related deaths16 in some developing countries.17 This racial disparity has not
improved in decades,18 and is also seen in other middle to high-income countries with
multiethnic populations.19 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S.
maternal mortality ratio ranked 56th in the world in 2017.20 According to the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS), in 2018, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 17.4 maternal
deaths per 100,000 live births, with 658 women dying of maternal causes.21 In 2019, the
maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 20.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, with 754
women dying of maternal causes.

Author(s): U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Publication Date: September 2021

Publication Site: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Dissenting Statement and Rebuttal of Commissioner Gail L. Heriot in U.S. Commission on Civil Right Report: Racial Disparities on Maternal Health

Link: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3924645

Full Citation:

Heriot, Gail L., Dissenting Statement and Rebuttal of Commissioner Gail L. Heriot in U.S. Commission on Civil Right Report: Racial Disparities on Maternal Health (September 15, 2021). San Diego Legal Studies Paper 21-028, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3924645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3924645


On September 15, 2021, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a report entitled Racial Disparities in Maternal Health (the “Report”). This Dissenting Statement and Rebuttal (the “Statement”) is a part of that report.

Among other things, the Statement points out several errors in Report. For example, the Report incorrectly states that maternal mortality has increased 50% over the last generation. What has actually happened is that changes in death certificates have caused more deaths to be classified as maternal in nature. The Report also emphasizes the theory that racism plays a prominent role in causing racial disparities in maternal mortality. The Statement points out in response that maternal mortality rates for Hispanic and Asian American mothers are lower than the rate for white mothers. This tends to detract from the theory that racism is what’s causing the disparities.

Author(s): Gail L. Heriot

Publication Date: 13 Oct 2021

Publication Site: SSRN

A Louisiana senator defends his statements on the state’s Black maternal health

Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/cassidy-defends-statements-louisianas-black-maternal-health-statistics-rcna30166


Black pregnant women continue to face disproportionately high pregnancy-related deaths, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating a 26 percent increase in the maternal mortality rate for Black women since the start of the pandemic. 

Though researchers do not have an explanation for the disparities, the research suggests it’s a culmination of institutional racism and other health factors, such as the increased risk of obesity and hypertension in Black women. Howell also added that stress and a lack of access to quality prenatal care further exacerbates this issue. 

“It really does boil down to how public health officials relate to Black women who are giving birth,” Howell said. “Statistics about Black maternal mortality are high across the board, no matter what your educational level is, no matter what your insurance level is.” 

In 2018, tennis star Serena Williams opened up in an interview with Vogue magazine about encountering severe health complications after giving birth because doctors neglected to listen about her existing medical conditions.

“When you have someone like Serena Williams having problems giving birth, and not being treated properly by nurses and doctors when she complains about not feeling well, then you look at the doctor of someone who is poor in Louisiana, and has the same kind of problem — they are probably treated even worse,” Howell said.

Author(s): Tat Bellamy-Walker

Publication Date: 23 May 2022

Publication Site: NBC News