Archive of 2011 November

23Nov2011
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SOA Blog
Category
Healthcare
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Healthcare reform goes to the high court

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would weigh the legality of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), in the first few months of 2012. Below you will find a summary of the issues at hand and thoughts on what needs to be discussed before the Supreme Court weighs in. The bottom line is that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments to decide the constitutionality of the healthcare law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance. Conclusions by the high court will likely come down in late June -- right before the Republican and Democratic conventions and smack dab in the middle of the 2012 presidential season. (more…)

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17Nov2011
SOA sections: What is increased satisfaction worth to you? Thumbnail

SOA sections: What is increased satisfaction worth to you?

by Meg Weber, SOA Director of Section Services When we ask section members why they belong, the first answer always relates to something intangible. I heard it best put, “It enhances my personal brand.” Your brand identity is what you communicate to your colleagues and employers about your professional interests. A section membership is a public affirmation that you choose to care about issues beyond the immediacy of your job. Not sure section membership is right for you? On SOA member and candidate surveys, members of sections are consistently more satisfied with the profession and the SOA than those who don’t. I believe that is because members of sections have made a greater commitment and more effort to be a part of something and that makes the rest of the experience feel more worthwhile. What is your increased satisfaction worth to you? (more…)

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15Nov2011
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SOA Blog
Category
Healthcare
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Lessons learned from anti-selection

by Cecil Bykerk, 2008-09 SOA President; President, CDBykerk Consulting Recently the Connecticut Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan changed its rating structure to a one- size-fits-all approach.  Reports on this change indicated that some older individuals would see reductions ranging up to 57 percent while individuals under the age of 45 would see increases.  It will be interesting to see what happens to enrollment as well as resulting financial experience. Back in 1996 and 1997, New York State revised its individual marketplace by requiring companies writing individual major medical policies to change its pricing approach to a uni-gender/uni-age approach, i.e., one-size-fits-all in addition to requiring guarantee issue.  This change applied to existing business as well as new business.  (more…)

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14Nov2011
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SOA Blog
Category
Risk
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Margin call risks overshadowing reality Thumbnail

Margin call risks overshadowing reality

  Actuaries in the U.S. and Canada have been curious to see  the portrayal of a chief risk officer by Demi Moore in the new movie “Margin Call.” We wanted to see if she is as intelligent and charming  as we all know risk officers and actuaries are in general (tongue in cheek, of course). In a Dealbook column, Eric Dash describes Ms. Moore’s character as a risk officer who is grappling “with the disastrous consequences of failing to persuade her bosses to pull back on their risky but lucrative mortgage trading business." The movie, which showcases a fictitious bank on the brink of collapse back in 2008, has received enthusiastic reviews by pundits and audiences alike for its entertainment value. (more…)

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14Nov2011
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phepokoski
Category
Inside the SOA
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Member comments sought on nominations process

by Peter Hepokoski, Chair, Nominations Process Task Force The Board has appointed a Nominations Process Task Force to assess whether changes should be made to the way the SOA develops its annual election ballot, and the Task Force wants input from members. Background on  the current process The SOA's Nominating Committee  is responsible for selecting the names for the SOA ballot.  This process has been in place since 2006. In adopting this process, the Board sought to strengthen its elections by the Nominating Committee  assessing nominees' fit with the job descriptions for the positions they seek and recommending which nominees should be placed on the ballot.  In the Board's judgment, the previous ballot process was not adequately assessing the skills, experience and leadership potential of nominees, and that too often seniority, longevity and name recognition were the keys to winning election. The Board's decision relied in part on reports from a Governance Audit Task Force in 2003 and a Task Force on Nominations and Elections in 2005. (more…)

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10Nov2011
Author
SOA Blog
Category
Healthcare
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‘Tis the season for healthcare conversations

It is that time of year again in health care – open enrollment for benefit plans at a significant portion of American businesses. Not exactly as enthralling as the holiday season, but important to most workers nonetheless. With thoughts of premiums, deductibles and networks percolating in November, the Society of Actuaries will cover a number of health care issues on the blog this month. Stay tuned for links to charts that show the state of health care, question-and-answer posts with industry experts and a review of the New York Times best-selling book Health Care Will Not Reform Itself. For now, we will highlight some of the trending topics online that are pertinent for those trying to manage health care risks for the broader economy, for an employer or for a provider of health care services. (more…)

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09Nov2011
Author
SOA Blog
Category
Risk
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Systemic risk presentation at the 2011 SOA Annual Meeting

David Merkel, owner of Aleph Investments, summarizes 2011 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting sessions on social media and systemic risk. David talks about leverage, credit spread and stress tests.

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09Nov2011
Author
SOA Blog
Category
General, Retirement
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Retirement risks survey presented at 2011 SOA Annual Meeting

Matt Greenwald, owner of Matthew Greenwald & Associates, discusses the findings of a retirement planning survey presented at the 2011 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting.

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09Nov2011
Author
SOA Blog
Category
General
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Social Security chief actuary discusses SOA Annual Meeting sessions

Stephen Goss, chief actuary at the Social Security Administration, discusses sessions at the 2011 Society of Actuaries' Annual Meeting that touched on the consumption culture of the United States, long-term volatility of stocks and leadership in general.

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08Nov2011
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Sustainable Social Security

by Bradley M. Smith, 2011-12 SOA President Social Security was designed as a pay-as-you-go system.  The 1983 reform resulted in increased taxes and decreased benefits to assure the 75 year “solvency” of Social Security.  The resultant tax revenue in excess of benefit payments “accumulated” in the Social Security Trust Fund.  The federal government “borrowed” this excess revenue to pay current expenses.  It also contributed to a reduction in the government’s current deficit and external debt. Nonetheless, the federal government owes this money to the Social Security Trust Fund which now sits at approximately $2.6 trillion. In the near future, absent reform, Social Security benefit payments will permanently overtake Social Security tax revenue, resulting in an increase in the government’s current deficit calculated on a unified basis. Given the level of the government’s deficit this has led some politicians to call for the reform of Social Security.  However, we know that any reform of Social Security will not affect the government deficit over the long run as Social Security taxes must be used to pay Social Security benefits.  It is a zero sum game.  (more…)

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