DB administration: Calculation support for small plan

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By Deepak Jain | 09 May 2018

The challenge

Milliman was contacted by the sponsor of a 2,000-participant defined benefit (DB) plan to assist in their plan administration. As a plan administrator, Milliman typically designs an administration system to meet all the client’s requirements. The typical system houses a complete database for the client, increasing overall efficiency. However, considering the challenges facing the client, a fully integrated administration system was not the appropriate solution.


  • Milliman was given two to three weeks to implement the entire calculation setup versus the standard six to nine months for implementation.
  • The client had a very limited budget but needed calculation support. They were not looking for a fully outsourced model and it wouldn’t have been cost-effective to build an integrated administration system.

The typical system implementation works as follows:

The solution

The Milliman team thought of alternative solutions for overcoming these challenges. Instead of building a full administration system, the team created an Excel database to compile the records of all the participants, embedded with all the necessary calculations. The team also added a mail-merge utility to generate and deliver the benefit election kit to all the participants. This approach allowed the team to combine the more traditional actuarial calculation support in an efficient and effective way.

Creating the Excel database, embedded with the necessary calculations for compiling the database and delivering the election kit to the participant was innovative and its implementation was no less than an invention. The Excel tool helped the team perform all the requested functions efficiently, which would have otherwise been performed using an integrated administration system.


  • Innovative solutions. The tool helped the client meet their immediate need.
  • Taking care of the Guidelines. This out-of-the-box thinking was implemented after following all of Milliman’s Peer Review Guidelines.
  • Accuracy check. The client was asked to provide Milliman with previous sample calculations which were matched with the manual calculator to check its accuracy.
  • Cost-effective. This implementation helped the client reduce administrative costs.

The outcome

The client was able to benefit from a customized administrative tool to provide more cost effective services for their small plan.

The project went live in November 2017 and it has been running successfully since that time. In January 2018, the team completed approximately 100 calculations in a short window of time, which were successfully delivered to plan participants. The tool exceeded the client’s expectations and they were very satisfied with the services rendered by the team.

With this implementation, Milliman provided innovative and customized solutions to the client in a timely and cost-effective manner.