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Reserving is an important aspects of claim handling. Whether it is a normal run of the mill lost time claim, or a claim with benefits payable over the remaining life of the injured worker, the goal is always the same: To accurately place the proper amount of money or reserves in the claim for the duration of the claim, which may be for the life of the claimant.

One method of estimating life expectancy is to use a one-size-fits all chart or table based upon historical data. This is the method set by California regulations (§10169. Commutation Tables and Instructions) when a commutation of future benefits is ordered by a WCJ. This table is based on the U.S. Decennial Life Tables for 1989-91, a metric that is outdated by about two and a half decades.

However, a rigid life expectancy chart or table may not be the best choice when a more accurate calculation is needed, such as when estimating settlement value, or a reserve estimate.

U.S. life expectancy increased for the first time in two years, according to a new report by the CDC. The report, released this week, marks a notable reversal: People born in the U.S. in 2022 can expect to live 77.5 years, an increase from 76.4 in 2021.

The data shown in this report reflect information collected by the National Center for Health Statistics for 2021 and 2022 from death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and compiled into national data known as the National Vital Statistics System. Differences between death rates were evaluated using a two-tailed z test.

The 10 leading causes of death in 2022 remained the same as in 2021. Heart disease was the leading cause of death, followed by cancer. Age-adjusted death rates decreased for 9 leading causes and increased for 1. Life expectancy at birth increased 1.1 years from 76.4 in 2021 to 77.5 in 2022, largely because of decreases in mortality due to COVID-19, heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, and homicide.

Data from the National Vital Statistics System

– – Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2022 was 77.5 years, an increase of 1.1 years from 2021.
– – The age-adjusted death rate decreased by 9.2% from 879.7 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2021 to 798.8 in 2022.
– – Age-specific death rates increased from 2021 to 2022 for age groups 1-4 and 5-14 years and decreased for all age groups 15 years and older.
– – The 10 leading causes of death in 2022 remained the same as in 2021, although some causes changed ranks. Heart disease and cancer remained the top 2 leading causes in 2022.
– – The infant mortality rate was 560.4 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2022, an increase of 3.1% from the rate in 2021 (543.6).

The rise in life expectancy comes as overdose deaths leveled out between 2021 and 2022, according to a separate CDC report also released Thursday.  According to that report, while overdose deaths nearly quadrupled over the past two decades, they did not significantly increase between 2021 and 2022. The rate of drug overdose deaths was 32.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021 and 32.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2022.

And a number of other factors can make major differences. According to the latest CDC data in 2022, the difference in life expectancy between females and males was 5.4 years, a decrease of 0.4 year. from 2021.

From 2021 to 2022, age-adjusted death rates, corrected for race and ethnicity misclassification, decreased 15.4% for Hispanic males (915.6 to 774.2) and 14.5% for Hispanic females (599.8 to 512.9).

Among the non-Hispanic population, death rates decreased 15.9% for American Indian and Alaska Native males (1,717.5 to 1,444.1), 14.0% for American Indian and Alaska Native females (1,236.6 to 1,063.6), 9.7% for Asian males (578.1 to 522.2), 9.3% for Asian females (391.1 to 354.9), 8.5% for Black males (1,380.2 to 1,263.3), 11.8% for Black females (921.9 to 813.2), 7.9% for White males (1,055.3 to 971.9), and 7.8% for White females (750.6 to 691.9).