Building on a tradition of collaboration at the 2021 OCA Seminar

On Monday, September 13, FCIAs Michel St‑Germain, Damien Lapointe Nguyen, Alyssa Hariton, and France Panneton presented at OSFI’s 2021 Office of the Chief Actuary (OCA) Seminar, a triennial event calling on the expertise of demographic, economic, and investments experts to share their views on long-term perspectives.

Organized by Canada’s OCA, the seminar took place over three days, welcoming 150 attendees from various organizations and federal and provincial government departments.

Held to obtain input that will assist in developing assumptions for the 31st Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Actuarial Report, the program covered themes of mortality, immigration, and climate change.

“It was a privilege to attend the OCA Seminar not only as a guest but as a speaker, representing both the Institute and the profession,” says Michel St‑Germain. “As the CIA’s Immediate Past President, I am acutely aware of the Institute’s goals in raising the visibility and voice of the profession within public dialogues – this occasion providing that opportunity.”

Raising the CIA research flag

Aware of the CIA’s long-standing contributions to the study of mortality improvement, OSFI invited the Institute to present CIA research on mortality/longevity and perspectives from the industry.

With each speaker presenting on their respective area of expertise, the session was divided into four parts, an overview of CIA research studies, perspectives from the life and pension industries, and outlooks for the future.

Michel adds, “The purpose of the presentation was not to present CIA research per se, but to inform and highlight how we, the profession and CIA, are leaders in the field of mortality assumptions. It was a chance to share our processes, what we’ve done in the past, and how we’ve successfully collaborated with the Office of the Chief Actuary.”

Following the presentation opening, Damien Lapointe Nguyen, Director, New Products at RGA Canada, shared the life insurance practitioner’s view on “what’s shaking the industry,” providing updates on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on disability and mortality, Bill S-201 on genetic discrimination, and the impacts on experience as medical underwriting undergoes a simplification.

“The seminar focus was CPP, but we thought it valuable to highlight the important overlaps between life and pension and how insights in one area can help to develop solutions in another,” says Damien.

Wielding more than 20 years of experience in actuarial pension consulting, Associate Partner with LifeWorks Alyssa Hariton offered the pension practitioner’s perspective. She expanded on the distinctions between CPP and pension plans, professional guidance in practice, and the use of multi-factor models to use the data available on plan members to develop better estimates of mortality outlook.

The Canadian pension market is constantly evolving, and research goes a long way in making sure we stay on the right track.

France Panneton, FCIA, Head of Pension Strategy for Club Vita Canada

“The emerging practice of multi-factor models was the area I was most excited to speak on,” says Alyssa. “It is a growing area of study that looks to use more predictive factors in the development of mortality expectations. It means plan-specific mortality assumptions can be used for even the smallest pension plans.”

In the final segment, France Panneton, Head of Pension Strategy for Club Vita Canada, presented outlooks for the future: “As actuaries we know that people are looking to us to provide projections, and while not the primary goal of the presentation, it was an opportunity to provide insights and give CPP professionals a look at what’s ahead.”

Prepared as a research teaser, France shared Club Vita’s recent findings and scenarios on key drivers of COVID-19 mortality, the potential negative and positive longevity implications of climate change, and predictors of medical and technological advances.

“The Canadian pension market is constantly evolving, and research goes a long way in making sure we stay on the right track,” says France in closing. “Not only does the information we shared inform discussions and decision-making, but it serves as a strong reminder of the important work done by the Institute across actuarial practices.” The CIA once again thanks OSFI for the invitation to present at the 2021 OCA Seminar and looks forward to continuing a long tradition of collaboration with OCA and OSFI that ensures the financial security of all Canadians.

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