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About Us

Staff List

State Actuary Biography

Office Overview

About Actuaries

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Office Overview

The State Actuary is an independent and non-partisan position and is appointed and removed by the State Actuary Appointment Committee (SAAC). The SAAC is jointly chaired by the chairs of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees. In appointing or removing the State Actuary, the SAAC consults with the directors of the Department of Retirement Systems and the Office of Financial Management. You may find more information on the membership and duties of the SAAC on the Select Committee on Pension Policy’s SAAC webpage and in RCW 44.44.013.

The Office of the State Actuary (OSA) is an independent and non-partisan agency of the Washington State Legislature and works exclusively on the funding and benefit issues of the state’s public retirement systems. OSA was created in 1977 and its duties are set forth in Chapters 44.44 and 41.24 RCW.  The role of the office as currently defined is to:

  • Perform biennial actuarial valuations on all state funded and/or state sponsored retirement plans. The manner in which the valuation is performed is subject to statutory requirements and actuarial standards of practice.

  • Recommend employer/state and member contribution rates to the Pension Funding Council (PFC) based on the results of the valuations. It is the PFC's responsibility to officially adopt any changes to contribution rates. The PFC also solicits an independent audit to verify the OSA results.

  • Prepare an actuarial fiscal note on each pension bill introduced in the Legislature. Any pension bill that passes into law may alter the funding status of the state’s retirement plans. Current law requires any additional costs be calculated and contribution rates adjusted accordingly.

  • Provide staff and assistance to the Select Committee on Pension Policy (SCPP), and maintain the SCPP website.

  • Provide actuarial assistance and advice to the Legislature and Governor.

  • Perform all actuarial services for the Department of Retirement Systems including all studies required by law. Provide actuarial assistance to the Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Plan (LEOFF) 2 Board. LEOFF 2 rates are adopted by the LEOFF 2 Retirement Board

  • Provide actuarial services for the state Board for Volunteer Fire Fighters and Reserve Officers.

OSA produces a number of publications in accordance with its duties.

  • Valuation Reports - publications containing full actuarial disclosure, including the funded status of the state’s retirement plans, usually published in the fall. Valuation reports prepared in even-numbered years are used, according to state law, to develop recommended contribution rates. Reports prepared in “off-cycle,” or odd-numbered years, are purely informational.

  • Experience Studies - reports comparing actual experience to actuarial assumptions, usually published at least once every six years. OSA is required to perform these studies at least once every five years.

  • Pension Studies - major studies of particular pension issues, usually in response to legislative mandates.

OSA also provides educational publications.

  • Pension Watch! - an e-mail service notifying subscribers of significant developments affecting public sector pension plans.

  • Pension Education Videos – a series of three videos explaining the basics of pension systems, plan design, and governance. These videos are posted on our Presentations page.

Our Mission Statement

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.

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.

About Actuaries

Actuaries are professionals involved in measuring and managing financial risk. In the private sector, they may be employed by insurance companies, banks, or investment firms. In state government, agencies administering pension, health care, unemployment, or worker's compensation benefits all rely on actuarial calculations in one way or another.

Pension actuaries estimate the financial implications and consequences of events 20, 30, 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 has provided a plain language primer that summarizes and explains the actuarial methods and practices used by OSA when preparing the various actuarial reports, studies, and fiscal notes. 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.