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Life Health > Annuities

Actuaries Find Race and Ethnicity Disclosure Gap

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What You Need to Know

  • About 12% of U.S. residents are Black, and 15% are Hispanic or Latino.
  • In the insurance industry, 12% of employees are Black and 12% are Hispanic or Latino.
  • Just 4.4% of new SOA members are Black, and 3.7% of new members are Hispanic or Latino.

Society of Actuaries members are much more likely to tell the SOA about their gender than to tell the group about their race or ethnicity.

The SOA has included that finding in its first diversity report.

About 97% of the U.S. SOA members have disclosed their sex, but only 26% have disclosed their race or ethnicity, the SOA says in the new report.

The SOA found that 68.5% of its members are men and 31.5% are women.

Here’s how the members who did disclose their race or ethnicity break down by race and ethnicity:

  • White: 73.8%
  • Asian: 19.1%
  • Black: 2.7%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 1.9%
  • Native American, Other or Mixed: 2.5%

About 5.3% of the SOA’s elected leaders and 5.2% of its volunteers are Black or Hispanic.

The SOA is a group for about 32,000 life, health and annuity actuaries.

The SOA board agreed in June 2020 to start conducting detailed membership analyses twice a year, to maintain transparency and track diversity initiatives, according to the SOA diversity report.

The SOA reports that the percentage of people who are Black or Hispanic is 27% for the entire U.S. population ages 25 and up; 24.1% for insurance industry employees; and 21.5% for people who earned bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and math topics in the United States 2019.


The SOA also broke out SOA member survey data for women.

Over the past five years, about 31% of the organization’s elected leaders have been women, but, over the past three years, only 27% of the conference presenters have been women.

Steps Toward Diversity

Andrew Rallis, who was the SOA president in June 2020, said then that the SOA needs to do a better job of promoting diversity.

“The low numbers of African-Americans and other people of color among our candidates, members, and leaders here in the U.S. where more than 65 percent of our members live, show we need to do much more so that our profession can truly reflect the rich diversity of this country and realize our vision for an open, welcoming profession for all,” Rallis wrote in an open letter to SOA members.

The SOA says one way to start increasing diversity in the actuarial profession is to support organizations such as the International Association of Black Actuaries, the Organization of Latino Actuaries and the Sexuality and Gender Alliance of Actuaries.

Another way actuaries can help is by giving the SOA information about their race and ethnicity, officials say.

The SOA itself also has other projects going on related to the nuts and bolts of insurance.

One team, for example, is working to add questions of interest to communities of color in America to ongoing research projects.

Another SOA team is trying to fight unintentional bias in big data and models by developing a certificate program and ethical and responsible use of big data.


(Image: fizkes/Adobe Stock)


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