Our Mission

Our work supports the financial security of Washingtonians today and for generations to come. We help our clients make informed decisions and navigate the uncertainties of the future through expert, accurate, and objective analysis. We strive to communicate our work in an easy to understand and accessible 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 requirements to see an expanded list.  Click the title a second time to contract the list.

Statutory Requirements

Recommendations
Contribution Rates
  • Calculate and certify contribution rates for the Pension Funding Council (PFC) based on funding policies, methods, and assumptions set in current law.
  • PFC also solicits an outside audit to verify OSA results.
  • Rates subject to change by the Legislature.
Economic Assumptions
  • Recommend economic assumptions to the PFC and Select Committee on Pension Policy based on an experience study produced every two years.
  • Assumptions subject to change by Legislature.
Reports
Actuarial Valuations
  • Performed for all state funded and/or state sponsored retirement plans based on funding policies, methods, and assumptions set in current law.
  • Subject to statutory requirements and actuarial standards of practice.
  • Full actuarial disclosure, including the funded status of the state’s retirement plans; performed annually.
  • 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.
  • Used for informational purposes only in odd-numbered years.
  • Usually published in the fall.
Demographic Experience Studies
  • Compare actual experience to actuarial assumptions.
  • Supports recommended assumption changes.
  • Required and published once every six years.
Actuarial Fiscal Notes
  • Prepared for pension bills or bills introduced to the Legislature that may alter state retirement plan’s funding status.
  • Current law requires any additional costs and impact to contribution rates be calculated accordingly.
Other Duties
Select Committee on Pension Policy
  • Staff the committee.
  • Provide assistance as needed.
  • Maintain the SCPP website.
Legislature and Governor
  • 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
  • Perform actuarial services, including studies required by law.
  • Provide actuarial assistance.
Guaranteed Education Tuition Program
  • Valuations and experience studies.
  • Risk and actuarial analysis.
  • Price-setting and recommendations.
Institutions of Higher Education
  • Valuations and experience studies of supplemental retirement plans.
Education
Pension Education Videos



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

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


Research, policy analysis, bill drafting, proposal pricing, pension education, risk modeling, reporting, publications, and general staffing.


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


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


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

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


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


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


State CAFR disclosures, confidential consulting, bill drafting, and proposal pricing.


Expert witnesses on actuarial matters.

Boards and Committees

Economic and demographic experience studies, relief and medical valuations, administrative factors, consulting, and proposal pricing.


Stochastic modeling, cash flow projections.


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.


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


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.


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.

2017 Performance Report [691KB]
 

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 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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Last Reviewed: 2/02/2015

Last Updated: 2/02/2015