The Impact of SOA Research

Q&A with R. Dale Hall, SOA managing director of Research

During the past year, Society of Actuaries (SOA) research and thought leadership has been featured in a variety of communications, from papers, reports, podcasts, videos and articles published by the SOA to social media references, blog posts and a broad array of coverage among business, industry and consumer media.

Q: What are some of the recent SOA research reports and studies that stand out most to you?

A: We’ve released a wealth of research during the past 18 months. Some of the key projects that stand out include a variety of mortality experience studies, and growing our presence and reports on mortality for both the United States and the worldwide population. We continued our work on aging and retirement issues with new research on retirement considerations and insights for those age 85 and older. Our collaborative work with other organizations includes the Actuaries Climate Index with the American Academy of Actuaries (the Academy), Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA).

Q: What actuarial research has the media covered recently?

A: The SOA and its members’ work continues to get increasingly referenced by the media, and it brings to light the importance of the actuarial profession. The SOA reports and studies include the MP-2017 mortality improvement scale and emerging U.S. population mortality. SOA members, including myself, appeared in an episode of National Geographic’s TV series “Breakthrough” on the topics of predicting longevity and mortality. The media has also written about the different sports and entertainment associations’ multiemployer pension plan fund findings from the SOA. This list of findings includes the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the Screen Actors Guild. Additionally, there have been several interviews with health actuaries discussing the future of the United States’ Affordable Care Act.

I also recommend checking out the SOA’s collection of podcasts called SOA Research Insights, which we started in 2017. This podcast series helps highlight technical and general-interest research, such as recaps of research featured at major SOA meetings. The series also includes actuaries discussing the findings of research involving principle-based reserves, health care and more.

Good Research Reads


The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Committee on Post-Retirement Needs and Risks released its Risks and Process of Retirement Survey, which explores how Americans understand, prepare for and manage retirement risks. Access this ninth biennial report.


This SOA analysis looks at the latest emerging trends in U.S. population mortality. Observations are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent release of 2016 mortality experience, along with prior mortality experience data from 1999 through 2015.


The Actuaries Climate Index provides an analysis of severe weather in Canada and the United States through spring 2017. Learn more about this index, which was developed jointly from several actuarial organizations, including the SOA.

Q: What is next in store with research from the SOA?

A: We certainly look forward to the many new research projects for this year, such as on retirement risks, pension plan funding, understanding rising health care costs, severe weather impact as part of the Actuaries Climate Risk Index, applying predictive models, emerging risk survey findings and more.

We will also share more information about the SOA’s Strategic Research Programs, a new and ongoing series of actuarial research that reflects a different way of organizing and developing critical research on behalf of the profession.

By the way, we have reorganized how SOA research is listed on, so that the various types of research are categorized by topic area, with papers, essays, monographs, studies and research tools.

Q: How can others help or participate with SOA research efforts?

A: For those of you interested in conducting rigorous research and studies, the SOA lists requests for proposals for the different available research projects, along with calls for essays and a call for papers on the Living to 100 Symposium taking place in 2020. We also offer a variety of volunteer opportunities to serve on research committees, or be reviewers or members of the Project Oversight Groups. It’s a great opportunity for members to provide their insights and connect on emerging topics in their practice area.

Visit and click on the “Participate” tab to find and apply for specific volunteer opportunities. If you have questions, contact our researchers at Aside from volunteering, you can also help by letting your colleagues, peers, employers and others in the industry know about the available research findings and resources. Also, consider sharing the research findings and resulting media articles on SOA research through your various social media channels, such as on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Related Links

About SOA Research
SOA Research Opportunities
SOA YouTube Research Playlist
SOA Podcasts Feed

R. Dale Hall, FSA, CERA, MAAA, is managing director of Research at the Society of Actuaries.