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Expert Testimony by Actuaries (Part 4 of 4)

Expert Testimony by Actuaries (part 4)

ACTUARIAL STANDARD OF PRACTICE NO. 17

EXPERT TESTIMONY BY ACTUARIES

Appendix 2

Comments on the 2001 Exposure Draft and Task Force Responses

The exposure draft of this actuarial standard of practice (ASOP), titled Expert Testimony by Actuaries, was issued in March 2001, with a comment deadline of August 15, 2001. Eighteen comment letters were received. The Expert Witness Task Force, with the help of the General Committee, carefully considered all comments received. Summarized below are the significant issues and questions contained in the comment letters and the task force’s responses.

GENERAL COMMENTS

Comment

Response

Some commentators suggested that the standard should more explicitly address the actuary’s duty to the public and the actuarial profession by emphasizing objectivity and explicitly requiring the actuary to consider all material factors.

The task force believes that the standard appropriately addresses the commentators’ concerns and made no change.

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested establishing a hierarchy of actuarial standards of practice to address potential conflicts between standards.

The task force believes that the actuarial standards of practice appropriately address potential conflicts and, in any event, that the establishment of such a hierarchy would be beyond the scope of this standard.

Comment

Response

Several commentators suggested editorial changes in various sections of the standard.

The task force implemented such suggestions if they enhanced clarity and did not alter the intent of the section.

SECTION 1. PURPOSE, SCOPE, CROSS-REFERENCES, AND EFFECTIVE DATE

Section, 1.1, Purpose

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested changing “the actuary” to “actuaries” in this section.

The task force adopted the commentator’s suggestion.

Section 1.2, Scope

Comment

Response

Some commentators expressed support for the scope of the proposed standard. One commentator suggested editorial changes to clarify this section. Another commentator suggested clarifying how an actuary might challenge existing precedent, law, or regulation.

The task force adopted the commentators’ proposed changes as appropriate.

Comment

Response

One commentator stated that an actuary who challenges existing precedent, law or regulation should note that fact as part of the testimony.

The task force believes that section 3.2 adequately addresses this point.


SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested adding a definition of “declaration.”

The task force believes that this term is adequately defined in common legal usage and that, therefore, no definition is needed.

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested restoring the definition of “actuarial literature.”

The term “actuarial literature” is not used in the standard and it is not the practice of the ASB to define terms that do not appear in a standard. The task force made no change.

Section 2.3, Actuarial Opinion

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested revising the definition of “actuarial opinion” to be “an opinion drawn by an actuary from actuarial knowledge or from the application of one or more actuarial methods and actuarial assumptions that the actuary endorses to a body of data.”

The task force disagreed and made no change.

Section 2.7, Principal

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested changing this definition to provide a broader description of client relationships and the actuary’s duty to other participants in litigation.

The definition is consistent with the Code of Professional Conduct and the task force believes that section 3.5 of the standard adequately addresses the actuary’s responsibilities to the various participants in litigation. No changes were made in the definition.

SECTION 3. ANALYSIS OF ISSUES AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES

Section 3.1, Review and Compliance

Comment

Response

One commentator thought the reference to the Code of Professional Conduct should have spoken to the Codes of the five U.S.-based organizations representing actuaries.

The task force disagreed, noting that all of the U.S.-based organizations have adopted the same Code of Professional Conduct.

Section 3.3, Conflict of Interest

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested that Precept 7 of the Code of Professional Conduct be reprinted in this section.

The task force disagreed.

Section 3.4, Advocacy

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested revising this section to be more specific in addressing particular circumstances.

Although the task force did not agree that particular circumstances needed to be addressed more specifically, the task force did revise section 3.4 to emphasize the actuary’s responsibilities under the Code of Professional Conduct

Section 3.5, Identity of Principal

Comment

Response

One commentator suggested clarifying revisions to this section.

The task force adopted the commentator’s suggestion.


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