Actuarial Valuations of the Railroad Retirement Board and Railroad Worklife Tables: A Reassessment

Ireland, Thomas R. 1998. “Actuarial Valuations of the Railroad Retirement Board and Railroad Worklife Tables: A Reassessment.” The Earnings Analyst  1: 99-106.


The Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 requires that the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), at intervals of not longer than three years, estimate the liabilities of the RRB system. The 20th Actuarial Valuation of the Assets and Liabilities Under the Railroad Retirement Acts as of December 31, 1995 was published in August 1997 and is the most recent valuation as this paper was written. Actuarial Valuations of the RRB contain much of the information necessary for the construction of worklife expectancy tables specific to the railroad industry. Charles Sherfey of Coopers & Lybrand in Chicago has used these actuarial valuations for a number of years to compile “railroad worklife expectancy” tables under contract for the Association of American Railroads. These tables have then been made available to railroads and defense firms representing railroads and used in both personal injury and wrongful death litigation. These tables were analyzed by Dale Funderburk in 1988, who reached several negative conclusions about them. The purpose of this paper is to reconsider Funderburk’s conclusions, some of which are flawed, but also to point out important different uses that can be made of Actuarial Valuations of the RRB to develop loss assessments involving railroad workers in Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) litigation.


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