You know you’re not getting the value you deserve when your actuary:
1. Is not available immediately when you need them. If the person that you report to wants an answer now, you need an actuary who will give you advice immediately. If you are in union negotiations, you need answers immediately.
2. Doesn’t give you their mobile phone number for 24/7 service. If your boss has your home or mobile phone number, then you better have your actuary’s mobile phone number.
3. Has overhead and marketing expenses that are costing you plenty. Why pay for your actuary’s excessive overhead and marketing expenses? There are plenty of boutique firms with billing rates that are far less than the bigger firms.
4. Charges you extra for services that you thought were in their proposal. It is your actuary’s job to clearly describe what fees are included and excluded from the proposal. If there are any surprises, your actuary should cover the expenses.
5. Fails to provide you with the stream of creative advice you need to solve your problems. It is your actuary’s responsibility to provide you advice, at their cost, on how to solve your problems. If you accept their advice and ask the actuary to do the work, then you should ask for a proposal so there are, again, no surprises.
6. Doesn’t visit with you at their expense to assess your needs. Your actuary should visit you at least once a year. This meeting on their dime should not be to market their services. It should provide you the opportunity for you to express your concerns about the actuary’s services, explore ways to solve your problems and reduce their costs.
7. Produces information and reports that are late or at the last minute. You deserve timely information and reports without having to be a “squeaky wheel” to get what you need and when you need it.
It is prudent practice to periodically evaluate your current actuary in order to be sure that you are providing yourself, your shareholders and your participants with the best actuarial services. If you pay actuarial fees from plan assets you should also be sure that the fees are reasonable and necessary. You should send out request for proposals (RFPs) every 3 years to be sure you are getting the service they deserve and at a cost that is reasonable.