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Mortality and Longevity 2020

08-08 June 2020

About this event

This highly regarded seminar will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity.  The program is designed for life, pensions and health and care actuaries, academics, researchers, underwriters and related practitioners eager to learn about the latest developments in mortality and longevity.  The sessions are designed to be very accessible to a broad range of experience.

Registration Mon, 08/06/2020 - 08:30 - 09:00 Registration and refreshments
Other Mon, 08/06/2020 - 09:00 - 09:10 Chair's Welcome

Andrew Muddle, Hymans Robertson

Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 09:10 - 10:00 The IFoA diabetes working party - our journey so far

There is a large quantity of academic literature that has sought to quantify excess mortality for those with diabetes, as well as how the known complications of diabetes impact both morbidity and mortality. Additionally, the effect of adherence to, and type of treatment used, have been extensively researched and published. In the UK, there are data-sets and audits that record much of this detail; however up-to-date analysis is lacking, particularly considering the improvements in approaches to management of diabetes.The work undertaken by the WP would help the industry to approach this using current research findings to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes is considered. This includes the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes.This research will be of interest to longevity actuaries as we seek to answer the questions around excess mortality in those with diabetes.We will present our latest findings, which will include an update from the academic research collaboration that we are currently in the process of securing.

Scott Reid and Chris Bagnall, Zurich

Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 10:00 - 11:00 What can we learn from mortality by cause of death?

Mortality forecasts are based on patterns in past experience, e.g. by period or cohort.  However, different causes of death show different behaviours

Members of the Mortality Working Group of the IAA have analysed changes in mortality for about 30 causes of death 

We will discuss:

  • how causes of death are classified, and the problems of long-term data
  • appropriate metrics, including "years of life lost" (YLL)
  • how some causes of death show a cohort effect, and we will present a "measure of cohortness" 

Finally, we will show the changes in dominant causes of death at older ages and discuss how studies like this could enhance mortality forecasting

Dov Raphael

Refreshments Mon, 08/06/2020 - 11:00 - 11:20 Refreshments
Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 11:20 - 12:10 A New Framework for Future Mortality

Our presentation will examine the challenges arising in setting mortality improvement assumptions, exposing known but under-explored vulnerabilities of current practices.  An entirely new framework is proposed, one built around the characteristics of short-, medium- and long-term outlooks, which puts greater weight on forward-looking (rather than extrapolative) approaches.  We argue that the insurers taking little-to-no account of the drivers of actual future improvements are “flying blind” in the face of their longevity risk exposure.The benefits of this new framework include: more accurate future mortality assumptions, improved understanding of the main drivers of mortality variation at different stages of the future, clearer processes for quantifying the components of mortality variation and facilitating stakeholder discussion, and greater consistency with the Internal Model.  As we set out the framework we will bring you along on our thought process – in particular, we will discuss: herding and “group think” and why these might be problematic, the differences between current approaches and an ideal approach to mortality improvement assumption setting, considerations in developing the new framework, and the implications of implementation for insurers with significant longevity risk. 

Richard Marshall and Kenneth McIvor, Willis Towers Watson

Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 12:10 - 13:00 Clusters and correlations in international mortality trends

Clusters and correlations in international mortality trends Over the past decades, many countries have exhibited mortality rates approximately following a piecewise linear law. This is visible in the form of steady improvements over multiple years, followed by a rather abrupt trend change, and then again stable improvements according to the new trend. We investigate trend change events across various countries and both genders in detail, revealing cross-country clusters and serial correlations in the trend change signs. This sheds light on how population mortalities may evolve with respect to each other, which can be helpful in setting correlation assumptions in internal models. 

Florian Gomez, PartnerRe

Refreshments Mon, 08/06/2020 - 13:00 - 13:50 Lunch
Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 13:50 - 14:50 'Researching research' - how to make use of medical research papers

Insurers and reinsurers are making increasing use of medical / epidemiological research papers to inform their assumption-setting, their models and their underwriting.  But the field of epidemiology is fraught with many potential pitfalls, and findings published as significant may be misleading or meaningless for a range of reasons.  In this session, two experienced mortality/longevity specialists take the audience through the key points of how to interpret medical research papers, using a range of case studies and famous papers to illustrate their points - for instance, the massive impact of data bias that may strike observational studies, commercial conflicts, fitting to other forms of evidence (eg medical / biological plausibilty, clinical evidence), or triviality of results.  A key concept is distinguishing between association and causality, and the extent to which the distinction matters (for some insurance applications, it may not). Surprisingly many of the concepts discussed (data bias, inference of causation) are directly applicable to equivalent questions in the world of 'big data' and advanced analytics, and the presenters' 'toolkit' of checks and questions will be useful also in that wider context.

Matthew Edwards, Willis Towers Watson and Dan Ryan, COIOS Research

Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 14:50 - 15:40 Towards Precision Insurance: dynamic hazards modelling in Big Data

Predictive risk assessment and risk stratification models based on postcode-level consumer classification are widely used for life insurance underwriting. However, these are socio-economic models not directly related to health information. Similar to precision medicine, precision life insurance should aim to tailor policy pricing/reserving to the individual health characteristics of each client. In real life, people develop new health conditions, lifestyle habits, and they can start and stop a certain treatment regime at any time. Additionally, clinical guidelines are regularly updated with new evidence, resulting in new eligibility criteria and treatment courses. This requires the ability to dynamically classify clients into time-varying subgroups with the predictable life expectancy based on the presence of evolving health-related conditions, treatments and outcomes.In this talk, we demonstrate how the landmark survival modelling of electronic health records (EHR) can be used for dynamic prediction of individual and population life expectancy.  We discuss a case-study based on landmark analysis of the use of statins. For this case study, we consider a cohort of 110,243 participants who reached age 60 between 1990-2000 with no previous history of cardiovascular disease or statin prescription at baseline. Participants’ medical history was updated at ‘landmark’ time points occurring every six months.

Elena Kulinskaya, University of East Anglia

Refreshments Mon, 08/06/2020 - 15:40 - 16:00 Refreshments
Plenary session Mon, 08/06/2020 - 16:00 - 16:50 Beyond control - what could be our next big health threat?

Current thinking around longevity risk is often centred around that which we are able, for the most part, to quantify. This includes changes in known risk factors such as cigarette smoking and obesity rates, as well as the impact of medical interventions. As an industry, it has been important to be able to look to the future to identify the next quantifiable risk. In this session , I will explore some of the less tangible, but none-the-less concerning risks to future health. This will include some of the occupational and environmental exposures that have not received particular attention, but warrant our concern.This session will present the evidence surrounding the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, ingestion of plastic in the food chain, and the hazards of indoor air pollution through exposure to volatile organic compounds. 

Nicola Oliver, Medical Intelligence

Other Mon, 08/06/2020 - 16:50 - 17:00 Closing Remarks

Presentations will be available closer to the conference date.