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An analysis of diabetes mortality and morbidity risk

This important research project is being commissioned by the IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), Pacific Life RePartner Re, Swiss ReLegal & General and Zurich Insurance Group. The research is being carried out by world-leading experts in risk analysis, risk modelling and risk evaluation at the University of Leicester, Dr Bogdan Grechuk, Dr Evgeny Mirkes and Prof Alexander Gorban. They are supported by the Real World Evidence Centre and the Leicester Diabetes Centre, a unique, collaborative partnership between the NHS and the University of Leicester.

Project summary

The last decade has seen significant advances in treatments for Type 2 diabetes. Yet, the long-term impact of these advances is not yet fully appreciated. Currently available risk estimates are derived from data that is over ten years old. The overarching aim of this research project is to develop a deeper understanding of the risks associated with a diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and the impact of recent improved treatments. Specifically:

  • To understand the increased risk of medical complications, including the impact of behavioural and/or modifiable risk factors and implications for chronic conditions later in life.  
  • To understand the information available to insurance underwriters and how this is used to underwrite this risk. 
  • Gain insights from data by considering advanced data analytic techniques to understand relative risk factors.
  • To produce mortality tables at a granular level for lives with and without diabetes (inclusive of all age ranges). 
  • To produce morbidity tables at a granular level for inceptions of diabetes.

As a working party, we are delighted that after a huge collaborative effort within the team, with our academic and clinical advisors, the IFoA executive and our sponsors, we can now proceed with what I anticipate will be a ground-breaking research project that will benefit those with diabetes, and those working in insurance who seek to understand the current clinical perspectives of those with diabetes.

This would not have been at all possible without the persistent hard work of the working party, and in particular, the support of my co-chair, Scott Reid.’

Nicola Oliver, former Co-Chair of the Diabetes Working Party and past Chair of the programme’s Steering Group


This project is an example of the IFoA listening to its members and commissioning cutting-edge research to advance actuarial knowledge and address real-world challenges,  in this case, a vital issue of public health.  We are delighted to announce the University of Leicester as a partner of the IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre to carry out this important piece of diabetes research. 

David Thomson, Head of Policy and Research

It is hoped that this research will help the insurance industry appreciate and use current data and studies when considering diabetic risks, and ultimately support individuals with diabetes to gain better access to insurance.

A full description of the programme can be found in this article by Scott Reid and Nicola Oliver.

Read about how this research will help support a fairer deal for those with diabetes seeking insurance in The Actuary.


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