Actuarial evidence refers to a specialized area of practice in which actuaries provide an expert opinion in the course of an adversarial proceeding.
Actuaries who work in this practice area play a key role in civil litigation cases by assisting counsel and the courts in the quantification of pecuniary damages. They assist the parties and the court by determining the present value of lost past and future earnings, lost pension and other benefits, lost valuable services, and the cost of future care in disputes arising from matters such as:
- Personal injury;
- Wrongful death;
- Professional negligence; and
- Wrongful dismissal.
Actuaries in this practice area also become involved as experts when there are class action or other disputes related to product liability, or between an insurance company and its policy-holders, a pension plan and its members, or employees and their employer.
In the realm of family law, actuaries are often called upon to determine the value of a spouse’s pension after a marriage breakdown in order to assist the couple in resolving their family property issues. Actuaries also calculate the lump-sum present value of spousal support obligations to facilitate a buyout and may assist in the settlement of estate disputes after someone has died.
Actuaries are uniquely qualified to serve as independent experts in such matters. Our standards of practice require us to act in an independent, unbiased, non-partisan manner and the CIA holds the duty of the profession to the public above the needs of the profession and its individual members.
Since most legal disputes settle prior to trial, most actuarial evidence is in the form of written reports. When required, however, actuaries will testify in court or other adversarial proceedings as expert witnesses.