NU Online News Service, June 15, 1:15 p.m. – The American Academy of Actuaries, Washington, is asking the Internal Revenue Service to approve a new mortality table from the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill., that gives sharply higher death rates for blue-collar workers than for white-collar workers.

The Society of Actuaries RP-2000 Table shows, for example, that 65-year-old men who hold blue-collar jobs are 42% more likely to die than 65-year-old men who hold white-collar jobs.

The table shows that occupation may be even more important than sex: 65-year-old men are more likely to die than 65-year-old women, but the difference in mortality rates for men and women is only 29%, according to the society?fs table.

If the IRS adopts the new table, employers that provide pensions for large numbers of blue-collar workers could factor the workers?f high projected death rates into their contribution formulas, according to actuarial academy experts.

“Companies with large numbers of blue-collar employees could see the costs of their defined benefit pensions go down,” says James Turpin, the academy?fs vice president.

An academy letter explaining its position is available on the Web, at http://www.actuary.org/pdf/pension/rp2000_043001.pdf