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About Us

Our Mission

The Office of the State Actuary promotes the security of Washington State public employees’ retirement benefits by providing expert, accurate, and objective actuarial and policy analysis in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Who We Are

We are an independent and non-partisan Legislative agency and work primarily on the funding and benefit issues of the state’s public retirement systems. OSA was created in 1977 and its duties are listed in Chapters 44.44 and 41.24 RCW.

Our office is led by the State Actuary. You can read his bio here. The State Actuary is appointed by the State Actuary Appointment Committee. More information is available in RCW 44.44.013.

What We Do

Click the title of OSA's responsibilities to see an expanded list.  Click the title a second time to contract the list.

Statutory Requirements

Recommendations

Contribution Rates
Bullet Calculate and certify contribution rates for the Pension Funding Council (PFC) based on funding policies, methods, and assumptions set in current law.
Bullet PFC also solicits an outside audit to verify OSA results.
Bullet Rates subject to change by the Legislature.

Economic Assumptions
Bullet Recommend economic assumptions to the PFC and Select Committee on Pension Policy based on an experience study produced every two years.
Bullet Assumptions subject to change by Legislature.

Reports

Actuarial Valuations
Bullet Performed for all state funded and/or state sponsored retirement plans based on
funding policies, methods, and assumptions set in current law.
Bullet Subject to statutory requirements and actuarial standards of practice.
Bullet Full actuarial disclosure, including the funded status of the state’s retirement plans;
performed annually.
Bullet Required by state law in even-numbered years to calculate and certify contribution
rates based on the funding policies, methods, and assumption set in current law for
the ensuing biennial state budget.
Bullet Used for informational purposes only in odd-numbered years.
Bullet Usually published in the fall.

Demographic Experience Studies
Bullet Compare actual experience to actuarial assumptions.
Bullet Supports recommended assumption changes.
Bullet Required and published once every six years.

Actuarial Fiscal Notes
Bullet Prepared for pension bills or bills introduced to the Legislature that may alter
state retirement plan’s funding status.
Bullet Current law requires any additional costs and impact to contribution rates be
calculated accordingly.


Other Duties

Select Committee on Pension Policy
Bullet Staff the committee.
Bullet Provide assistance as needed.
Bullet Maintain the SCPP website.

Legislature and Governor
Bullet Provide actuarial assistance and advice.

Department of Retirement Systems, Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Plan 2 Board and the Board for Volunteer Fire Fighters and Reserve
Officers
Bullet Perform actuarial services, including studies required by law.
Bullet Provide actuarial assistance.

Guaranteed Education Tuition Program
Bullet Valuations and experience studies.
Bullet Risk and actuarial analysis.
Bullet Price-setting and recommendations.

Institutions of Higher Education
Bullet Valuations and experience studies of supplemental retirement plans.

Publications

Pension and Mandated Studies

Education

Pension Education Videos
Bullet A series of videos explaining the basics of pension system funding, plan design, and governance, which are posted on our Presentations page. More information on
the state pension systems is available on the SCPP Pension Education and
Overview page.


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Who We Serve

Click the title of OSA's customers to see an expanded list.  Click the title a second time to contract the list.

Legislative Branch

Pension Funding Council
Valuations for all state pension systems; economic and demographic experience
studies; calculate and certify contribution rates based on the funding policies, methods,
and assumptions set in current law; risk modeling; and recommendations on economic
assumptions.


Select Committee on Pension Policy
Research, policy analysis, bill drafting, proposal pricing, pension education, risk
modeling, reporting, publications, and general staffing.


Legislature
Actuarial fiscal notes for pension-related bills, mandated studies. Actuarial consulting
on GET.

Legislators and Legislative Staff
Confidential consulting, risk modeling, bill drafting, and proposal pricing.

Fiscal Committees
Updates, reports, education, confidential consulting, budget planning, bill drafting, risk
modeling and proposal pricing.


GET Legislative Advisory Committee
Updates, reports, education, confidential consulting, risk modeling, and proposal
pricing.


Executive Branch

Governor
Confidential consulting, risk modeling, bill drafting, and proposal pricing.

Treasurer
Support bond prospectus disclosures, presentations to rating agencies, confidential
consulting.

Department of Retirement Systems
Administrative factors, CAFR disclosures, COLA calculations, support with state
budgeting (agency 740 calculations).

Office of Financial Management
State CAFR disclosures, confidential consulting, bill drafting, and proposal pricing.

Office of the Attorney General
Expert witnesses on actuarial matters.

Boards and Committees

Volunteer Fire Fighters' and Reserve Officers' Relief and Pension Fund
Economic and demographic experience studies, relief and medical valuations,
administrative factors, consulting, and proposal pricing.

Washington State Investment Board
Stochastic modeling, cash flow projections.

Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' Retirement System 2
Valuations; experience studies; calculate and certify contribution rates based on the funding policies, methods, and assumptions adopted by the board; recommendations
for economic assumptions; administrative factors; confidential consulting;
education; and reporting.


Public Employees Benefits Board
Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) valuation and online tool.

Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Committee
Actuarial valuations and experience studies, risk and actuarial analysis, price-setting,
and recommendations.


Institutions of Higher Education
Actuarial valuations and experience studies.

Public

Pension Community
Educational materials, publications, and presentations.

State and Local Government
OPEB valuations, OPEB online tool (LEOFF 1), projected pension contribution rates.

Citizens at Large
OSA and SCPP websites, responses to website inquiries.

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How We're Doing

The following report measures critical agency functions to monitor and manage our performance and identify areas of improvement. We interview our clients to gather measurement information. We document client expectations, measure levels of satisfaction with the expectations, and identify new or emerging expectations. We also conduct on-going staff interviews to measure employee satisfaction.

2013 Performance Report [85KB]

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Our Values Statement

We model the highest level of professionalism.  We remain independent and unbiased when delivering services in support of our mission.  We value teamwork and collaboration to continually improve the quality of our services and working relationships.  We promote a fun and friendly office culture that provides work-life balance and opportunities to grow.

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About Actuaries

Actuaries are math professionals who measure and manage financial risk. They are employed by insurance companies, banks, or investment firms. In state government, agencies administering pension, health care, unemployment, or worker's compensation benefits rely on actuarial calculations in one way or another.

Pension actuaries estimate the financial implications and consequences of events twenty, thirty, or more years into the future.  They are concerned with demographic trends and statistics within the pension plans’ membership.  They analyze the economic factors that may affect the value of a pension plan’s benefits or assets.  This work relies on mathematical principles and assumptions, statistics, probabilities, and experience.

The California Research Bureau provides a plain language primer that summarizes and explains the actuarial methods and practices.  You may access the report directly from the CRB website. Or you may download the report in PDF format .

More information about the actuarial profession in general is available at The Society of Actuaries website.

 

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