Archive for March, 2023

Three Years into COVID, Insurance Death Claims are Still Rising

There has been a dramatic decrease in life expectancy in the past few years. In August 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, announced that life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is 76.1 years. This is 2.7 years shorter than it was just prior to the advent of COVID-19.


Yet COVID isn’t the only cause of this diminishing life expectancy. Mortality rates associated with drug overdose, accidental injury, heart disease, liver disease, and suicide, among other causes, are also rising.


At Miller & Newberg, as the fourth largest annuity and life insurance actuarial firm in North America serving many client insurance companies and fraternal benefit societies, we have very credible data when it comes to insured lives mortality. We compile and analyze this data to help our clients make wise decisions regarding their businesses.


No matter how you look at it, our client insurers are seeing their overall death claims continue to climb, even as COVID recedes. You may be surprised to learn that 2022 was a worse claims year due to mortality than both 2020 and 2021. See the chart below:


Claims year 2022 large

As to population mortality, the latest data from the CDC is showing that overall mortality is decreasing because COVID is receding. But notice in the graph below that the non-COVID death rate is climbing noticeably.


US Deaths by Half Year


With the non-COVID level of mortality worsening, how should companies react? We have not seen significant changes to pricing by either insurers or reinsurers. Some companies are simply hoping that the trend will reverse, but we advise that hope is not often a good strategy.


Some companies are attempting to address this challenge through the underwriting process. Other companies are working to grow their annuity business more aggressively than their life insurance business. There are other approaches that could make sense. We work with our clients to tailor solutions that meet their needs, specific to their desires and circumstances.


If you’re concerned about the mortality your company is seeing, give us a call. Miller & Newberg remains vigilant in tracking the data and helping our clients to make the best decisions that help them grow their businesses profitably.

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow



Miller & Newberg is proud to announce that our very own Sam Ellis, a valued member of the team since he began his actuarial career in 2015, has attained the top professional qualification in our industry: Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.


Attaining this designation requires passing a series of examinations over a period that can last 10 years or more, each requiring hundreds of hours of self-directed study and thousands of hours of growing professional experience in order to be able to master.


Successfully completing all the exams requires substantial perseverance, as the pass rate on each exam is typically less than 50%, among tough competition – the entire candidate pool being experienced in the actuarial field. Thus, failures along the way are a regular occurrence, requiring the aspiring Fellow to spend even more time and effort to reach the required level of expertise.


Per the Wall Street Journal, only 10% of those who begin taking exams from the Society of Actuaries eventually manage to become a Fellow. Stuart Klugman, an official at the Society of Actuaries, said it took one man 50 years to become a Fellow. (WSJ article: Want to Be an Actuary? Odds Are, You’ll Fail the Test)


Sam, we are thrilled for you, having achieved this coveted professional designation.


Your fellow Fellows,


Trevor, Chris, Ed, Tim, Kent, Eric, and Lori