U.S. Qualification Standards Attestation Form

Team Effort Brings Us Across the Finish Line
By Mary D. Miller

The Evolution of the Attestation Form Project

How the Academy’s USQS Attestation Form Benefits Stakeholders


Explore and Complete the Attestation Form


Team Effort Brings Us Across the Finish Line
By Mary D. Miller
Past President, American Academy of Actuaries
 
More than a year ago we began a process to design and develop a voluntary U.S. Qualification Standards Attestation Form, and we first presented a prototype of the form at the NAIC Summer National Meeting in August 2014.
 
The Academy was responding to regulators’ concerns about transparency on actuarial qualifications necessary for signing statutory statements of opinion. It all started with a simple question—how could everyone involved be certain that an actuary who signed a statement of actuarial opinion (SAO) was truly qualified to do so?
 
As a former regulator, I understood their concerns completely. The Academy’s long history of support for the work of the NAIC encouraged us to begin developing a tool that would precisely follow the requirements of the Qualification Standards for Actuaries Issuing Statements of Actuarial Opinion in the United States (USQS). As we worked through the development of the online attestation, we sought feedback from regulators and our volunteers to ensure the final version of the Attestation Form was intuitive and useful and contained no new qualification provisions or requirements. This team approach, in which all stakeholders were brought together to define this important initiative, has given us a tool that all members can use. Furthermore, it allows an actuary to give confidence to regulators and the public that the actuary is truly qualified to do the work he or she is undertaking.
 
We kept regulators informed about the development process at every step along the way by presenting updates at each of the actuarial task force meetings and the well-attended regulators-only professionalism breakfasts that we host at each NAIC national meeting. We responded to their feedback to ensure the final tool would meet the needs of regulators and the public. Indeed, the public trust in our professionalism is paramount—and this tool is a continuing step in the Academy’s ongoing mission of ensuring actuarial professionalism. While developed at the request of regulators, this is also a tool anyone who issues SAOs can use to document their qualifications under the general requirements of the USQS as well.
 
I am grateful to all of those who helped us get to this end, which is also, of course, the beginning of what I hope will be a popular and straightforward way to demonstrate actuarial qualifications. Please take a moment and visit attest.actuary.org to begin using this powerful tool.
 
The Evolution of the Attestation Form Project
 
The U.S. Qualification Standards Attestation Form was developed to help actuaries voluntarily demonstrate how they meet the U.S. Qualification Standards (USQS) specific requirements for signing NAIC annual life, health, and property & casualty statements of actuarial opinion (SAOs).
 
The Academy initiated the development of the Attestation Form as a first step toward providing greater information and demonstrating accountability to regulators and the public regarding relevant actuarial qualifications.
 
An original exposure draft Attestation Form was released for comment in August 2014 on the Academy’s website in printable Excel and PDF formats. Based on quick and extensive feedback received, the Academy decided instead to move the Attestation Form to a more comprehensive online tool. In this way, not only can actuaries attest to their specific qualifications to sign NAIC annual statements, but they can also simply attest to satisfaction of general qualifications, creating an all-in-one tool for all Academy members.
 
This newly released Attestation Form follows the USQS to the letter, allowing the actuary and any recipient of the Form to very clearly understand the qualification standards and how to document satisfaction of the qualification standards. The online tool also allows the actuary to upload relevant documents, as well as text descriptions of those documents, to explain the specifics of his or her individual qualifications and experience. Before attesting, the user is shown a summary of all of the entered responses and whether any documents were uploaded. If the actuary has not met a qualification necessary for his or her attestation, progress will be saved but he or she cannot complete the attestation until the missing qualification has been met. Once the actuary completes all required qualifications and attests, the attestation and all supporting documents can be downloaded to a convenient zip folder to the user’s computer. The tool can also create a personalized link to the attestation that the actuary can share at his or her discretion with regulators or others.
 
The Attestation Form also allows members to easily update their qualifications as needed year over year. The tool includes a listing of the actuary’s previously started and completed attestations, which can be used to create a new, updated attestation. This list is only made available to the attesting actuary, and Academy membership login information is required to enter the Attestation Form tool. Currently, there are no plans to publish a searchable database of the volunteer attestations to the general public, so any information entered by an actuary can only be seen by the actuary or someone who has been provided the personalized link by the actuary using the tool. If the tool proves to be as useful as we hope it will, we may at some point in the future seek permission from those who are using it to publish a summary of their entered information.
 
The Attestation Form will greatly assist members in ensuring their experience and continuing education meet the USQS—just in time for 2016 SAOs. The Academy will continue to discuss possible enhancements to the Attestation Form in the coming months as members provide ongoing feedback.
 
Academy members can go to attest.actuary.org and log in with their Academy credentials to access the Attestation Form. Should you have questions not addressed on the welcome screen or in the FAQs, please contact us at attest@actuary.org.
 
How the Academy’s USQS Attestation Form Benefits Stakeholders

The public:
➥ Increases transparency and knowledge of how those who sign SAOs are qualified to do so in accordance with the U.S. actuarial profession’s standards
 
Academy members:
➥ Aids understanding of the USQS requirements
➥ Enhances reputation by showcasing credentials and qualifications in a standardized, straightforward, documentable manner that is easy to understand
 
Regulators:
➥ Provides a clear demonstration of an actuary’s qualifications to sign NAIC annual SAOs in accordance with the USQS
➥ Provides supporting documentation of qualifications that assists in determining whether the SAO is provided by a qualified actuary
 
Employers or clients:
➥ Provides a comprehensive and consistent template to illustrate how an appointed actuary is qualified
➥ Provides an optional tool to help employers