Emerging Technologies and their Impact on Actuarial Science


Full report: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2021/2021-emerging-technologies-report.pdf



Technologies that have reached widespread adoption today:
o Dynamic Collaboration Tools – e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack, Miro – Most companies are now using this
type of technology. Some are using the different functionalities (e.g., digital whiteboarding, project
management tools, etc.) more fully than others at this time.
• Technologies that are reaching early majority adoption today:
o Business Intelligence Tools (Data Visualization component) – e.g., Tableau, Power BI — Most
respondents have started their journey in using these tools, with many having implemented solutions.
While a few respondents are lagging in its adoption, some companies have scaled applications of this
technology to all actuaries. BI tools will change and accelerate the way actuaries diagnose results,
understand results, and communicate insights to stakeholders.
o ML/AI on structured data – e.g., R, Python – Most respondents have started their journey in using
these techniques, but the level of maturity varies widely. The average maturity is beyond the piloting
phase amongst our respondents. These are used for a wide range of applications in actuarial functions,
including pricing business, modeling demand, performing experience studies, predicting lapses to
support sales and marketing, producing individual claims reserves in P&C, supporting accelerated
underwriting and portfolio scoring on inforce blocks.
o Documentation Generators (Markdown) – e.g., R Markdown, Sphinx – Many respondents have started
using these tools, but maturity level varies widely. The average maturity for those who have started
amongst our respondents is beyond the piloting phase. As the use of R/Python becomes more prolific
amongst actuaries, the ability to simultaneously generate documentation and reports for developed
applications and processes will increase in importance.
o Low-Code ETL and Low-Code Programming — e.g., Alteryx, Azure Data Factory – Amongst respondents
who provided responses, most have started their journey in using these tools, but the level of maturity
varies widely. The average maturity is beyond the piloting phase with our respondents. Low-code ETL
tools will be useful where traditional ETL tools requiring IT support are not sufficient for business
needs (e.g., too difficult to learn quickly for users or reviewers, ad-hoc processes) or where IT is not
able to provision views of data quickly enough.
o Source Control Management – e.g., Git, SVN – A sizeable proportion of the respondents are currently
using these technologies. Amongst these respondents, solutions have already been implemented.
These technologies will become more important in the context of maintaining code quality for
programming-based models and tools such as those developed in R/Python. The value of the
technology will be further enhanced with the adoption of DevOps practices and tools, which blur the
lines between Development and Operations teams to accelerate the deployment of


Nicole Cervi, Deloitte
Arthur da Silva, FSA, ACIA, Deloitte
Paul Downes, FIA, FCIA, Deloitte
Marwah Khalid, Deloitte
Chenyi Liu, Deloitte
Prakash Rajgopal, Deloitte
Jean-Yves Rioux, FSA, CERA, FCIA, Deloitte
Thomas Smith, Deloitte
Yvonne Zhang, FSA, FCIA, Deloitte

Publication Date: SOA

Publication Site: October 2021

Final Report of the Activities of 2019 HMD Project

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2021/activities-2019-hmd-project/

Full paper:



Work accomplished under the 2019 agreement between the Human Mortality Database (HMD) team and the
Society of Actuaries (SOA) was divided between two main projects: 1) the continuous development of the United
States Mortality Database (USMDB) and 2) the publication of cause-specific mortality series for selected HMD
countries. Due to administrative delays at both the University of California, Berkeley, and the Society of Actuaries,
work on these projects did not begin until July 2019. Furthermore, due to restriction in data access associated with
the Covid-19 pandemic, a no-cost extension was requested by Magali Barbieri, the Principal Investigator for the
projects, and accepted by the SOA to extend the project beyond the initial December 31, 2019 deadline.

Author(s): Magali Barbieri, Ph.D University of California-Berkeley

Publication Date: August 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Mortality with Meep: Cause of Death Trend — Heart Disease — 1999-2020

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-with-meep-cause-of-death




The long-term trend has been improvement for this cause of death, with it most obvious for the oldest age groups. This trend has been driven by improvement in medical treatment for the condition, but also due to the decrease in smoking rates… decades ago. Some causes of death have behavior that precedes the death by decades, which can get tricky to track for our top two causes of death: heart disease and cancer. Even so, smoking cigarettes has been a huge driver for both these causes, and made a large differentiator by sex and smoking status for a long time.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 26 July 2021

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Ten Pearls of Wisdom for Navigating the Changes to the SOA’s Associate Level Exams

Link: https://blog.actexmadriver.com/ten-pearls-of-wisdom


Do not put your career on hold. Continue to take (and hopefully pass) exams during the transition period.

Remember why you started taking actuarial exams in the first place. It was probably because you wanted to become an actuary or open doors to a variety of rewarding careers that combine business and the mathematical sciences. Unless your goals have changed, you should continue to take exams during the transition period. The SOA’s transition rules are usually very generous, so unless you repeatedly fail an exam that is being discontinued, you should not worry that the time spent studying for exams will be wasted.

Publication Date: 28 July 2021

Publication Site: Actex

The Society of Actuaries Announces ASA Curriculum Changes, Micro-Credentials and Affiliate Membership

Press release: https://www.soa.org/resources/announcements/press-releases/2021/2021-asa-changes-member/

FAQ: https://www.soa.org/education/general-info/asa-micro-credentials/

Pathway comparison, more info: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/edu/asa-pathway-changes.pdf



Beginning in January 2022, pre-ASA candidates will also be able to begin work to earn new micro-credentials that recognize and demonstrate to employers their knowledge and skills gained along the pathway to ASA. These “milestone markers” will remain with candidates if they decide to leave the ASA pathway and are also applicable for those choosing to enter the pathway to only earn one or more micro-credential. All elements required to earn these micro-credentials are part of the ASA pathway and count in full toward earning the ASA and FSA designations.

These micro-credentials group together pathway components that represent distinct knowledge and skills to demonstrate the level of achievement candidates earn to employers, co-workers and their professional network. AQ/EQ and data science skills are driving changes to the ASA curriculum and will be incorporated into requirements for each micro-credential, allowing candidates the ability to demonstrate and build on those skills for their resume and jobs.

These micro-credentials do not make candidates qualified or “signing” actuaries; that work is reserved for those who earn the ASA and FSA designations. However, they do provide critical marks of candidates’ progress through the system and signal to employers the knowledge they’ve gained. We will be conducting an outreach program to employers to build awareness and support for the micro-credentials over the coming months.

Author(s): SOA

Publication Date: 12 July 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Have Fun With Approximations!

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/have-fun-approximations-mary-pat-campbell/


Pdf: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByabEDuWaN6FNmZhTDBYeEVrNVE/view?resourcekey=0-U4GI2_9zn4UQdWza1bq95w


In the pre-computer days, people used these approximations due to having to do all calculations by hand or with the help of tables. Of course, many approximations are done by computers themselves — the way computers calculate functions such as sine() and exp() involves approaches like Taylor series expansions.

The specific approximation techniques I try (1 “exact” and 6 different approximation… including the final ones where I put approximations within approximations just because I can) are not important. But the concept that you should know how to try out and test approximation approaches in case you need them is important for those doing numerical computing.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 3 February 2016 (updated for links 2021)

Publication Site: LinkedIn, CompAct, Society of Actuaries

Several Ways to Improve Your Use of Excel for Actuarial Production

Link: https://www.soa.org/sections/small-insurance/small-insurance-newsletter/2021/june/stn-2021-06-mathys/



Create a Consistent Structure for Calculations

When spreadsheets are created ad-hoc, the usage of time steps tends to be inconsistent: advancing by rows in one sheet, columns in another, and even a mix of the two in the same sheet. Sometimes steps will be weeks, other times months, quarters, or years. This is confusing for users and reviewers, leads to low trust, increases the time for updates and audits, and adds to the risks of the spreadsheet.

A better way is to make all calculations follow a consistent layout, either across rows or columns, and use that layout for all calculations, regardless if it requires a few more rows or columns. For example, one way to make calculations consistent is with time steps going across the columns and each individual calculation going down the rows:

Author(s): Stephan Mathys

Publication Date: June 2021

Publication Site: Small Talk at the Society of Actuaries

Impact of COVID-19 on Actuarial Careers: Highlights Report

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2021/covid-19-highlights/

Report link: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2021/covid-19-highlights.pdf



Working from home was a significant change for most actuaries. While some are looking forward to
returning to work in the office, few would like to return to working in the office most or all of the time.
After COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted, approximately 65% of full-time respondents would prefer to
work from home at least 3 days per week: 28% would prefer to work from home three days per week, 23%
would like to work from home every day, and 14% would prefer to work from home 4 days per week.

In general, respondents who identify as women have a slight preference to work from home more
frequently than do respondents who identify as men.

Author(s): SOA

Publication Date: June 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

SOA Member Town Hall on University-Earned Credit

Video description:

SOA leadership and members discuss the University-Earned Credit (UEC) program. Watch this recording of the May 24 member town hall about UEC. If you have any additional questions email us at membercomms@soa.org. Learn about the UEC program by visiting https://www.soa.org/education/resources/uec/uec-program/

Access the FAQs at www.soa.org/education/resources/uec/uec-faq/

Publication Date: 27 May 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries on YouTube

Mortality with Meep – U.S. Mortality Preliminary 2020 Experience


Reviewing the recent Society of Actuaries report on preliminary mortality results in U.S. population, with a focus on increased mortality from non-COVID causes. U.S. Population Mortality

Observations, Preview of 2020 Experience Society of Actuaries research:



Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 21 May 2021

Publication Site: Meep’s Math Matters on YouTube

U.S. Population Mortality Observations Preview of 2020 Experience

Report Link: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2021/us-population-observations-preview.pdf

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2021/us-population-observations-preview/



The overall age-adjusted mortality rate for 2020 was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 of population. This rate was 15.9% greater than the 2019 overall age-adjusted mortality rate. This high level of mortality has not been experienced in the U.S. since 2003.

If deaths coded as COVID (COVID deaths)3 were excluded, the overall age-adjusted 2020 mortality rate would have been 737.2 per 100,000 or 3.1% higher than the 2019 rate. This increase excluding COVID deaths is also noteworthy because it reverses the two previous calendar years of decreasing mortality; however, some or all of this may be due to the misclassification of CODs as discussed in Section 6.

2020 mortality rates increased in both sexes, with the male rates increasing more than the female rates. The differences in the increases between males and females were about 3% when all causes of death (CODs) are included and about 1% when COVID deaths are excluded.

The slope of the 2020 COVID mortality curve by age group is not as steep as the slope of the non-COVID deaths, indicating that COVID impacts younger ages more evenly across age groups that all other non-COVID CODs combined.

In the review of the 2020 mortality rates by age group, it is interesting to see that the highest percentage increases were in the younger adult ages, not at the very old ages. When COVID deaths were removed, ages 15-44 saw the largest increases in mortality rates.

Author(s): Cynthia MacDonald, FSA, MAAA

Publication Date: 20 May 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries