This Week: Oct. 23-27, 2017

Read the latest news from the Academy.

Recent Academy Activity, Oct. 23–27, 2017

Professionalism Webinar: The Great Assumptions Debate

The Academy hosted a professionalism webinar Thursday that was attended by more than 2,000 people. “The Great Assumptions Debate” looked at issues following the Actuarial Standards Board’s (ASB) approval late last year of an exposure draft of a proposed actuarial standard of practice (ASOP), Setting Assumptions. Assumptions lie at the heart of nearly every actuarial assignment, but ASOPs provide only limited guidance for setting assumptions. The ASB received 45 comment letters on the exposure draft—significantly more than for most drafts—from actuaries in every area of practice.

Webinar presenters ASB member Barbara Snyder, ASB Assumptions Task Force Chairperson Maria Sarli, and ASB General Committee member Ralph Blanchard examined key issues raised in the comment letters. Director of Professionalism and Academy General Counsel Paul Kollmer-Dorsey moderated the webinar; slides and audio are available for members free of charge.

ASB Adopts Two ASOPs on Pension Risk and Principle-Based Reserves for Life Products

The ASB recently adopted ASOP No. 51, Assessment and Disclosure of Risk Associated with Measuring Pension Obligations and Determining Pension Plan Contributions, and ASOP No. 52, Principle-Based Reserves for Life Products under the NAIC Valuation Manual. ASOP No. 51 will be effective for any actuarial work product with a measurement date on or after Nov. 1, 2018, and ASOP No. 52 will be effective for valuation dates on or after Dec. 31, 2017.

Annual Meeting—New Plenary Session: Journalists’ Panel on Health Policy

The Academy announced this week that a panel of journalists—composed of some of the country’s top health policy reporters—will discuss the latest health care policy developments in a plenary session at the Academy’s Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum next month in Washington. They will discuss how they sift through and interpret the information, and provide perspectives on how health care policy is reported. Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, will moderate the panel, which will include The Wall Street Journal health reporter Stephanie Armour and Joanne Kenen, executive editor, health, for Politico.

The Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum will be held Nov. 14–15 in Washington; the health plenary session will be on Wednesday morning, Nov. 15. See the full agenda and register today.

Professionalism Outreach

  • William Hines, a member of the Council on Professionalism, gave a wide-ranging presentation titled “A Look at Professionalism and Ethics” at the Prudential Network Annual Seminar Tuesday in Newark, N.J. More than 150 people attended the seminar, which examined the professionalism considerations involved in, and resources available to actuaries, addressing ethical dilemmas.

  • Academy Board member Lisa Slotznick gave a well-received presentation Wednesday on “ASOP No. 21 and Other Professionalism Topics” at the Atlanta Actuarial Club. In addition to reviewing the changes to the cross-practice ASOP on Responding to or Assisting Auditors or Examiners in Connection with Financial Audits, Financial Reviews, and Financial Examinations, which was revised in September 2016, Slotznick described the ASOP development process and discussed the relationship between the Code of Professional Conduct and the ASOPs.

Public Policy Activities

  • The Pension Practice Council sent a comment letter to the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System Board regarding the newly adopted Terminated-Vested Member Buyout Program.


  • The IRS issued Notice 2017-64 on retirement plan contributions for 2018. The notice updates contribution and income eligibility limits for pension plans based on annual cost-of-living adjustments.

  • The U.S. Senate passed a final disaster relief bill Tuesday that, in part, provides debt relief for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), canceling $16 billion of the NFIP’s debt. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 12, and now awaits President Trump’s signature.

  • A bill to create a state public health insurance option, also referred to as a Medicaid “buy-in,” was introduced in the both chambers of Congress by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.).

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight released public use data on health insurance exchanges and rates for 2018, including health insurance exchange public use files and rate review data.

  • The Congressional Budget Office released a cost estimate of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The measure would provide federal reimbursements to insurers for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) through 2019 and make several changes to the Affordable Care Act’s State 1332 Innovation Waivers.

  • The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a request for a preliminary injunction submitted by 18 states and the District of Columbia to stop the Trump administration from terminating reimbursements for CSRs, rejecting the claim that cessation of the CSRs would cause the states immediate harm.

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report Thursday on the asset management and insurance industries in accordance with an executive order on “Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System.”

In the News

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2017 Annual Meeting and Public Policy Forum