The actuarial evidence practice area provides actuarial professional opinions that assist the parties and the decision makers in a legal dispute – thus helping them to resolve the dispute on fair terms. Professional actuarial evidence work may include expert testimony in court or providing a lawyer with a clear report that helps to support settlement negotiations out of court.
“Actuaries help to resolve financial disputes more fairly, inexpensively and quickly.”
Actuarial evidence most commonly arises in civil litigation matters and in marriage breakdown circumstances. Using expertise in contingencies and in the time value of money, and domain knowledge in pensions and insurance, actuaries might evaluate the following:
- the loss of earning capacity and the cost of future care in the aftermath of a catastrophic personal injury;
- the value of pension benefits, for division or equalization in divorce proceedings;
- the interest rate in complex lending arrangements, for comparison with the limits prescribed by the Criminal Code of Canada; and
- the amounts of money that will fairly resolve a pension, insurance or reinsurance dispute.
Actuaries are recognized experts in these areas. Indeed, the Supreme Court of Canada cited “actuarial calculations as the best available means of determining amount” where lump sum awards are used to compensate accident victims. Furthermore, the objectivity and independence provided by actuaries has been held up as an example for all experts to follow in the civil justice system.
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.
Curious about the benefits of bringing your expertise to the service of the justice system?
The actuarial career path isn’t all about risk – it comes with a variety of rewards, too. From the opportunity to provide service directly to individuals, to developing relationships as a trusted authority to lawyers and other professionals, to helping the justice system to achieve greater fairness, actuarial careers are multi-faceted and intriguing.