Actuaries have been active in the study of mortality since the earliest days of the profession and it remains an area where actuaries can contribute to the quality of public debate and lead in the development of new thinking.
The ageing population and increasing longevity are welcome evidence of social and health improvements in our society but raise new issues that are of concern to us all. This continues to be an area where the Actuarial Profession can act in the public interest by working with other disciplines, for example in the medical, social sciences and demographic fields. Combining the expertise of actuaries with that from other disciplines will substantially improve our ability to understand mortality and morbidity risk. In 2010, the Profession wishes to move the debate forward by funding external interdisciplinary research in this area up to a total £100,000. We intend this work to build on the platform created by the Mortality Research Steering Committee and to catalyse future research across disciplines that we hope will have a major and far-reaching impact.
With lower inflation and interest rates in recent times, the importance of mortality risk to actuarial practice has increased, just as the difficulties in predicting future mortality have become more apparent. Society as a whole, government, and industry, are all having to deal with an ageing population and increased life expectancy. In 2006 the Actuarial Profession recognised that collaboration with other disciplines offered an opportunity to better understand past, present and future trends and it set-up a multi-disciplinary Mortality Research Steering Group.
The group quickly established the potential benefits of a multidisciplinary approach, particularly in relation to the availability, reliability and granularity of data. An initial scoping study was followed by events which culminated in the successful Joining Forces conference on mortality and longevity held at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 21-22 October 2009. This conference brought together leading academics, researchers and practitioners in actuarial and medical science to consider, debate and share knowledge and has created a solid platform for research in this area. The conference reinforced the view that actuaries must link up with and understand the work of others as an input to their work and, crucially, to influence the direction of future research.
The call for research
The Profession would welcome proposals in the three themes underpinning the Joining Forces conference:
I. Understanding the drivers for change in mortality and longevity, for example:
- What exactly causes death rates to continue to fall?
- What is the scope for current trends to continue?
- Understanding the closing gender gap in mortalit
- What will be the impact of future medical advances?
- What would be the impact of future behavioural/social/environmental changes?
II. How will successive cohorts differ and why
- Are those now reaching old age in some way different to previous generations in terms of their intrinsic biology and exposure to risk?
- How will younger generations differ, and why?
III. How far can the approach to drilling down to individualised risk help in exploring the connections between populations and individuals including the impact on mortality of biological and life style risk factors such as nutrition, exercise, and alcohol consumption?
Areas with immediate practical impact:
- The development of mortality/morbidity models – this could include new methods or modelling methodologies from other areas of statistics/mathematics/science, incorporating cause of death, the potential for using stochastic models
- Analysis of alternative datasets e.g. pensioners, different socio-economic groups
- Modelling and/or projecting different populations (e.g. different geographic regions, different socio-economic groups, migrant populations).
The public interest
Research into mortality and/or morbidity that will help move forward the current debates around:
- Long term care/the retirement age/healthy ageing
- The social and financial consequences of changes in mortality/longevity and morbidity
- The impact of mortality on the economics of pensions: public spending and education.
Three awards were subsequently made:
- University of Southampton and Barnett Waddingham LLP - Bayesian Modelling of Mortality Projection Uncertainty
- Heriot-Watt University - Mortality Models for Multiple Populations using Covariates
- King’s College London - Genetic risk profiling for common diseases
Dr Gerard Kennedy ASA of the University of Southampton of the research team of himself, Professor Jon Forster, also of the University of Southampton and Mr Neil Robjohns FIA of Barnett Waddingham LLP said: “Mortality projection is of vital importance to the actuarial profession, but is subject to uncertainty, and it is critical that such uncertainty be accurately quantified. Currently, uncertainty quantification, if performed at all, is done within the context of a single mortality projection model. However, there is no universally agreed such model, and fully coherent uncertainty quantification should also account for model uncertainty. Bayesian statistical methodology provides a fully coherent framework for estimation in the presence of model uncertainty, but practical implementation within the context of mortality projection is under-explored, and will form the main focus of our research. Potential benefits of this research would be improved pricing and assessment of risk exposures and capital requirements in respect of longevity risk transactions, greater understanding of and confidence in the quantification of both mortality projection uncertainty and the tail of longevity risk, and improved management of such risk.”
Dr Torsten Kleinow of Heriot-Watt University said: "Our project willdevelop new mortality models for multiple populations. These models will be based on covariates; in particular smoking prevalence. Our aims are to refine predictions of mortality rates, and explain differences between mortality rates for different cohorts and populations."
Professor Cathryn Lewis of King’s College London said: “Genetic studies have identified genes contributing to the common, complex disorders that confer a major public health burden, such as heart disease and diabetes. This raises the prospect that individual-level genetic screening can be used to identify those at increased risk of such diseases, which will have implications for actuarial practice. This research proposal will develop statistical models for genetic risk profiling, providing a framework for investigating genetic risks at a population level.”
If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of our funding for member-led research please contact the Research and Knowledge Team:
Filter or search events
The authors will focus on a large dataset obtained from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) and related sources. Data are available at the level of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) – small geographical areas with, typically, 1000-2000 residents and include death counts, exposures and a significant number of socio-economic variables including the index of multiple deprivation (IMD).
Patrick Lee is an actuary who has made the transition to working in software architecture and artificial intelligence (AI). He holds Microsoft Professional qualifications in Data Science, Big Data and AI and is currently working towards a DevOps (the automation of software testing and deployment) qualification. He is a member of the IFoA Council and is also President of the Wessex Actuarial Society. He is also a member of the IFoA and the RSS's joint Data Science Focus Group and will talk on the ethical use of AI.
This IFoA event for NEDs explores what skills and experience are required to undertake non-executive roles, e.g. as independent NEDs on fund boards or members of IGCs. The event will be chaired by Brandon Horwitz, an actuary who is a consultant and who has held various investment governance roles and who specialises in investment governance as well as being an iNED.
This presentation covers the detail for how the matching adjustment is calculated. A small simple example spreadsheet is provided and discussed in detail.
For actuaries wanting to get more involved with the matching adjustment, this is the opportunity to get a detailed description of the mechanics involved. This includes cashflows derisking, PRA tests as well as hypothecation.
The presentation is provided by James Sharpe who has worked on a number of matching adjustment calculations with several firms.
As a thank you to all our Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) volunteers, you are invited to join us at Staple Inn Hall, for an evening of drinks, canapes and networking, in London.
IFoA President, John Taylor, will be attending and will make a speech
If you support the IFoA as a volunteer (member or non-member), or in any other role, and you are going to be in London on 15 January, please book your place and join us at this reception.
The Operational Risk Working Party aims to assist actuaries and others in the modelling and management of operational risk. One of the key challenges in modelling operational risk is the modelling of dependencies between operational risks, and between operational and non-operational risks such as market, credit and insurance risk.
Launch of the IFoA’s 2020 thought leadership campaign The Great Risk Transfer. The campaign will examine the trend of the transfer of risk from institutions to individuals, and how people can be better equipped to manage the financial risks they now face. At this breakfast event the IFoA will launch a call for evidence on this topic.
Presenters: Rebecca Deegan, Head of Policy, IFoA, and Faye Alessandrello, Policy Manager, IFoA
A Trusted Profession
A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020. This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.
This sessional meeting will be of direct interest to actuaries and others working in the in the Health and Care, Life or Pensions sectors or indeed actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality. Note: Registration is from 17.30 in time for the sessional to begin at 18.00.
A Trusted Profession
Presenter: Mark Pibworth
Speaker: Dr Marc Roper
The world of Data Science continues to exponentially grow with unknown limits and where it can reach. However, without data we will all still face these challenges in our day to day life.
Recent years have seen ESG, Climate Change, and Responsible Investing thrust onto the corporate agenda in every boardroom. The same also be said for pension funds. Expectations of how companies should respond are high and NEDs on Boards are expected to adapt and adjust their guidance to companies accordingly. What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees?
What next in Economic Policy?
Please join us on 25 March 2020 for our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh.
Presented By: Rebecca Deegan, Head of Policy, IFoA, and Catherine Burtle, Senior Policy Analyst, IFoA
The sixth annual Asia Conference once again offers a prestigious line-up of home and international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia. This year's conference in Kuala Lumpur will be hosted by Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA’s first Asian President. He will also make his Presidential address at this conference and will expand on the important elements of IFoA’s new strategy.
Additionally, this landmark conference will showcase how the IFoA is reinventing itself to support its members to succeed and thrive in a digital age, within traditional businesses and beyond, as a global organisation.
Not to be missed by international industry players, opinion formers, academic and industry leaders, actuaries and non-actuaries.