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Mortality Tables Past & Present: Testimony to Subcommittee of House Ways & Means Committee

The SOA recently had the opportunity to testify before the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, “Private Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans.” The Sept. 17 testimony focused on the evolution of mortality tables through present times. Our testimony to the Subcommittee also included discussion on the development of the SOA RP-2014 mortality tables report exposure draft. The MP-2014 Mortality Improvement Scale report provides a model for mortality improvement rates that would be applied to RP-2014 for future years.

The SOA has long been the primary source for mortality and mortality improvement studies on U.S. voluntarily-established, private-sector defined benefit plans. The Internal Revenue Service has continually looked to SOA tables as a basis for the updating of mortality tables to be used under § 430(h)(3)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code.

We recognize it is critically important for professional actuaries to have access to reliable and well-supported data so that they can provide meaningful projections to the broad range of stakeholders responsible for governing private pension plans. We have approached the RP-2014 mortality tables project with a great deal of rigor because of the very important uses of these mortality tables and mortality improvement scales. The MP-2014 report includes two-dimensional rate tables for males and females that vary by attained age and calendar year. Ultimate rates extend forward in the tables for calendar years 2030 and beyond.

For reference, the RP-2014 and MP-2014 final reports have not yet been published, however the SOA is working towards a target completion date of October 31, 2014.

Visit the House Ways and Means Committee’s website for the SOA’s testimony and for more information on the House Subcommittee.

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