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Mortality Tables: Going in Reverse

The Society of Actuaries recently released an update to the mortality tables that were originally published in the fall of 2014. The update includes a new mortality improvement scale, MP-2015, which quantifies how quickly mortality rates are expected to change in the future. The key observation from the update is that mortality improvements are not as strong as originally estimated. Although the impact on each plan will be different, updated scales are expected to reduce the liability from 0.5% to 2.0%, helping offset some of the dramatic mortality increases based on the 2014 tables. Plan sponsors have the flexibility to decide whether to incorporate the MP- 2015 scales into their plan valuations. It is important to note that the updates will impact valuations used for financial statement disclosures. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is expected to issue proposed regulations related to mortality tables for minimum funding and lump sum purposes, which is expected to be effective for plan years beginning in 2017.