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The Technology Section of the Society of Actuaries proposes that a standard file format be adopted for the economic scenarios used in modeling for risk management and liability valuation.  A standard format could facilitate the sharing of such scenarios between different modeling systems and save practicing actuaries time currently spent reformatting data.  The proposed format is named EconSML, for Economic Scenario Markup Language.

This page provides details of the proposal, along with the version 1.0 release of supporting software.  All of this material has been prepared as a volunteer project of the SOA Technology Section and is distributed here as a service to the Section.  Similar material appears on the Section website.

Commenting on EconSML  

Comments on the file format and supporting material will almost assuredly lead to refinements and improvements.  Comments regarding any of the material on this page can be emailed to or to  

Summary of the proposal

The proposal has two parts.  

First there is the definition of a file format.  The format is a dialect of XML and is to be called EconSML, which is short for Economic Scenario Markup Language.  A complete description of EconSML can be downloaded in the form of a MS Word document by clicking here.

Second, in order to facilitate adoption of EconSML as a standard, there is a sample software library for using the scenario data within a model.  Documentation of the library's interface is available in a Developer's Guide (in MS Word form).  An installation program containing the library, source code, and additional documentation is also availble.

Obtaining and installing sample software

Persons interested in working with  the new file format can download and install a compiled software library (for use under Windows) along with source code and a sample application in Excel/VBA that uses the library.   

The installation program for Windows users can be initiated or downloaded by clicking here.  The installation program will install the library and sample program along with complete source code and all documentation referred to above.

This installation program is for the July 2015 version of the software.  (Version 1.2)

The installed software is a dynamic link library (sometimes called a class library) implemented in C# and is for use under MS Windows .NET 2.0 or higher.  A test version of a static library in C++ for native Windows has been developed and is in testing.  Source code for both C++ and C# versions are installed by the installation program.

Notes on using the sample software

If you are installing an updated version of the software, it is recommended that you un-install a previous version before installing the new one.  Un-installation can be done using the Add/Remove Programs facility in the Windows Control Panel.

If the Excel workbook does not work after installation, the user may need to do the following to ensure that Excel can find the needed libraries:

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet
  2. Open the VBA editor
  3. Click on the menu item "Tools", then "References"
  4. In the references dialog, put a check mark before "Common Language Runtime Library" and "TSScenarioLib".  Then click OK.  If TSScenarioLib is marked as missing, then it may have been installed in a folder different from the defalut.  In that case, TSScenarioLib should appear again later (alphabetically) in the list of available references, and this other copy should be checked, while the one marked as missing should be unchecked.

TSScenarioLib is the sample library for using EconSML.  The "Common Language Runtime Library" is part of .NET and came as part of Windows starting with Windows XP.  The sample library uses .NET version 2.0 and is compatible with later versions.

Why not ESML?

The team that developed EconSML originally planned to use the name ESML for this dialect of XML.  However, it turns out that ESML is already in use and refers to Earth Science Markup Language.