Life and Health Qualifications Seminar

Specifically, November 6-9, 2023.

I’ve never had to give an official actuarial opinion on anything. I just send my tps reports up the flag pole & the top brass take the credit for a job, well, done. That changed when Sr VP needed a new yacht & so expenses were cut via layoffs (part of the previous sentence may or may not be true). At many of my subsequent interviews the question was asked “Are you qualified to sign an actuarial opinion?” “Uh, I don’t think so because I don’t really know what that means.”

So, I’ll probably attend this thing. I hear there’s an optional exam at the end. FWIW, I’m one of the ~10% that failed 152, and I got binary scores when I sat for courses 5 & 6 and then ILA-LFV. Reading/hearing words, immediately understanding them, and then regurgitating/demonstrating understanding of them is not my strong point.

That page that I linked to above has this:

Specific Knowledge Requirement of the USQS Specific Qualification Standards

Specific Knowledge Requirement of the USQS Specific Qualification Standards
Actuaries wishing to issue a statement of actuarial opinion under the Specific Qualification Standards (Section 3 of the USQS) must, among other requirements, “be knowledgeable, through examination or documented professional development, of the Law (i.e., statutes, regulations, judicial decisions, and other statements of legally binding authority) applicable to the Statement of Actuarial Opinion.” To meet the additional Specific Qualification Standard, which applies to reserve opinions for the NAIC Annual Statement Blanks, an actuary must obtain, through examination or alternative education, specific knowledge in the following topical areas*

Life and A&H (Blue Blank)
(Covered by Exams ILA-DP-US, ILA-CSP-US)

  • Policy forms and coverages
  • Investments and valuations of assets, and the relationship between cash flows from assets and related liabilities
  • Dividends and reinsurance
  • Statutory insurance accounting
  • Valuation of liabilities
  • Valuation and nonforfeiture laws

Health (Orange Blank)
(Covered by Exams GH-DP, GH-CSP)

  • Principles of insurance and underwriting
  • Principles of ratemaking
  • Statutory insurance accounting and expense analysis
  • Premium, loss, expense, and contingency reserves
  • Social insurance

I can’t tell if that means I have to pass both the exam at the end of this seminar in addition to Exams ILA-DP-US & ILA-CSP-US or attending just the seminar is sufficient or if I can just say “Of course, I’m qualified. Trust me!”

I think what I’m looking for is help understanding what I need to do in order to officially “issue a statement of actuarial opinion” and encouragement/dis-encouragement for passing the necessary exams to do so.


The AAA exam can be taken in lieu of the life exams in order to meet the specific knowledge requirement. However, to actually become a qualified actuary, the USQS also requires 3 years of experience performing work related to signing an opinion in the particular practice area, under another qualified actuary. That is, you would need 3 years of Life valuation work to issue an SAO on a blue book.

There are a few other requirements to being a qualified actuary, such as being in good standing as a member of the AAA.

To actually sign the opinion, you would have to be the appointed actuary, which the company would designate you after you become qualified. You also need to meet the state-specific definitions of “qualified” and “appointed” in the company’s state of domicile, which may vary slightly from state to state, so you would need to double check the statute to be sure.

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Thank you. This is the key point I wasn’t comprehending.

So…how difficult is this AAA exam? Compare it to, say, ILA-LFV. How much pre-studying does one do?

It’s much easier than any of the fellowship exams, because it is open book and the topics are much narrower.

I know a few experienced actuaries who have passed without needing to study beforehand.

Keep in mind that the exam covers both the life and health side, so even if you were familiar with one side, chances are you will not have seen the other half of the material before. If you have never seen any of the material, or are not good at exams, I would spend more time preparing for the seminar.

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I went a few years ago (so my experience may be dated), but here’s what I remember:

  • As noted above, it’s an open book test… but they know it’s an open book test, and write it that way accordingly. That being said, the questions weren’t written with the idea to trick you - there was just a lot of them.
  • I don’t think any question came up that wasn’t covered in the seminar, so if you’re really paying attention during the seminar (and understanding what they saying) and not doing too much to distract yourself in the evenings, you will be in a good spot.
  • I think one of the main reasons the test is open book is that they know the life folks will be shaky on the health side, and vice versa. If you’re shaky on both, you won’t have enough time to finish the exam. If you’re solid in one area, you’ll have the time to efficiently look over some of the questions in the other area… but that’s only if you’re paying attention and retaining enough during the sessions.
  • As far as reading the materials ahead of time, I didn’t do any (though I had intentions to do so) and it wasn’t a problem - they give you a lot more materials than what they actually go over (though they are good references for later).
  • As for the exam, the best advice I got was to not try and cram the night before - rather, just make sure to get a good night’s rest. The daily sessions can get a bit dense, so your brain’ll likely be full by the end of the day, and having that downtime really helps let things settle.

Anyway, that’s my :coin: :coin: . Good luck! :+1:

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For those who are wondering, the exam will be on 11/09 from 8:30-11:30.

I just got the syllabus and all of the downloads (mostly pdfs, some .xlsx). Would you recommend printing all of this to paper? It’s an awful lot to print out…but if the test is only “open-book” and not “open-computer” then I’m going to want to have it available…do they provide these printouts at the seminar? …am I allowed to bring in my own written-in & highlighted copies? Am I going to need a second suitcase?

A computer is required for the exam and you are allowed to use the PDFs. I would not print it all out as you do not have time to sit there flipping through papers finding what you need. If you pay attention during the seminar and exercises, and make use of the search command, you should be fine.

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If any of you GoAers are going to be there, let me know. I’ll be looking for someone to commiserate with.

When is it? And where is it?

Starts tomorrow. There are 27 states with a town/city named Arlington. It’s in one of those 27 states.

Ah. Have fun!

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I just want to stop by and thank you for all of your advice/insight.

The exam was doable. I had pretty decent answers for most of them, I thought …there was a good deal of copy pasta (one is highly encouraged to submit a word document (but they do allow paper submissions (but they really don’t want to read your handwriting)) and it’s open-computer) but why reword something when it’s already presented so eloquently.

I’m not sure how strictly they grade these (compared to an SOA fellowship exam, e.g.) , but I do know that I achieved a passing score, and I am relieved and ecstatic and relieved…it’s the first time I’ve ever achieved something beyond the ASA level (and my failures in this regard have been epic).

I am now qualified to give you my opinion. I gotta lotta problems with you people!!!


Hey, can’t you wait three days??

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