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Mortality Research Steering Committee: priority research areas

One of the main responsibilities of the Mortality Research Steering Committee (MRSC) is to steer the Profession’s research relating to the demographic risks of mortality, morbidity and longevity. We have reviewed what we believe should be the priorities for research activity and have identified six areas.

1. Predicting future population mortality improvement

The IFoA (through the CMI) provides the Mortality Projections Model, which is a world-leading model that smooths recent trends in mortality and blends it into projected long-term mortality improvements. However, there is no equivalent robust and reliable method for deriving plausible population mortality improvement assumptions from more discrete data sources (such as a cause of death data), necessarily supported by subjective judgements. The MRSC wants to see a methodology created that does this, and our current approach is to use a bespoke multiple cause of death dataset provided by the ONS.

2. Forecasting trends in morbidity

Forecasting morbidity is currently a difficult task, as morbidity trends are complex, influenced by changes in the biological incidence of diseases and affected by changes in diagnostic techniques. We want to improve the understanding of these trends and their interactions to help maintain access to protection products serving a strong consumer need, and also provides richer insights into mortality and longevity trends.

3. Supporting the profession's efforts to resolve the challenge of providing older age care

In recent years the UK population has aged significantly and is expected to continue to age in the future. As a result, the number of people requiring good quality care has increased but the provision of the required care has not met the needs of society. The solutions that the actuarial profession can devise may help to address this issue and the MRSC can contribute to this.

4. Managing risk in products providing longevity protection

The risk management of longevity is still in its infancy and there are a number of aspects that could improve this:

  • Creation of an industry standard definition of all the risks behaviours underlying longevity risk.
  • Development of a method to benchmark the output of different risk models used by individual companies using this standard definition.
  • Identification of new ways to reduce risk using this standard definition to identify the intrinsic and avoidable risks.
  • Consideration of the differing longevity risk exposures of different kinds of beneficiaries

5. Tools and techniques used for analysing portfolio experience

The potential tools and techniques available to actuaries to analyse portfolio experience continue to evolve. Actuaries need to look beyond the traditional methods to decide what might best serve their clients. The following areas would benefit from investigation and communication to the actuarial community:

  • The potential new sources of data that can be used to enhance the assessment of portfolio experience.
  • The increased range of analyses that areas such as data science are bringing to the actuarial toolkit.
  • The assumptions being made by traditional and new techniques, and whether these are reasonable in the uses made by actuaries.
  • The relative advantages and disadvantages of these approaches, technically but also as regards interpretability and ease of implementation.

6. Communication of complex risk behaviours in ways that are easy to understand

Longevity, mortality and morbidity risks are complex and simplistic measures, such as expectations of life, do not provide reliable metrics for non-experts to base decisions upon. New means of communicating this complex behaviour are required that better serve the needs of stakeholders.

We have started to work on advancing the six areas above and we will publish any research and outputs on these areas via the IFoA website.

In October 2019 the MRSC held a Stakeholder Event. This included discussion of the MRSC’s six priority areas as well as discussion of alternative priorities. A summary of the discussions is available on the stakeholder event page.

We would welcome any further feedback or comments on our research priorities. Please let us know any comments at research@actuaries.org.uk.

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2020 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Webinar Series
    22 June 2020 - 7 July 2020

    Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance provides content across all key areas of the general insurance sector whilst also offering cross-practice area technical topic deep-dives.

  • Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance

    Across the General Insurance market actuarial pricing tools are being migrated from Excel to web-based technologies. Web based pricing technology offers many synergies with AI and Machine Learning. But they are often hampered by poor design and practically always perform worse than their Excel counterparts!

    The following will be presented: 

  • Spaces available

    Offering insight on the 'New Normal', this webinar shares how the arsenal of weaponry at the disposal of ethical hackers is being deployed by those intent on breaching organisational security. The webinar is for all employees that would like a cyber context of what defines the “New Normal” and how it exposes an organisation.

  • Spaces available

    In this talk we cover the practicalities of implementing ESG within real asset investment decisions. Capital deployed in real assets is invested for a long term and has far reaching impact on the environment and society.  However, implementing ESG into real asset investment decisions is not straightforward and requires a different approach to public market assets.

  • Spaces available

    A practical and theoretical look at risk from wider perspectives, drawing on theories and examples from other fields, as well as social experiments, the session aims to stimulate members to consider information asymmetry, bias, Bayesian methods, behavioural finance and behavioural psychology when determining pension scheme risk. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This webinar will provide an overview of how and why we built a Death Toolbox using Shiny.  This includes a live demonstration of the tool that enables a user to explore mortality datasets without knowing specialist coding techniques.

  • Spaces available

    Technical Issues in General Insurance webinar series. Lloyd’s will be presenting on the recent Casualty Market Study that was conducted across a section of the market. This study looked at the Non-Marine General Liability, Directors & Officers and Medical Malpractice from an underwriting, reserving and claims perspective. The presentation will cover the reasons for why the Study was conducted, the approach taken to determine the focus classes and participants, the key general findings as well as the next steps that Lloyd’s are proposing to take.

  • Spaces available

    An update from the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI). Content will focus on the work of the Self-administered Pensions Schemes (SAPS) Mortality Committee and the Mortality Projections Committee and will cover the most relevant and up-to-date outputs.

  • Spaces available

    The PPF’s Purple Book provides the most comprehensive data on the UK universe of Defined Benefit (DB) pension schemes in the private sector.  Analysing how this landscape has changed over time shows that whilst the risk profile of DB schemes has reduced underfunding has persisted.  The session will explore these trends and provide an insight into how funding may evolve in the future under a number of our modelled scenarios.   

  • Spaces available

    The IFoA is running a webinar on Thursday 9 July 2020 which will focus on the challenges and issues facing defined contribution savers who wish to access illiquid investments.

    Our speakers will provide perspectives from their diverse experience, including DC fund implementation, platforms, master trusts, the role of trustees, regulation, and parallels with other fund types. They will then come together in a panel discussion with audience interaction. 

    The webinar is likely to be of interest to actuaries working across the spectrum of financial services, including investment advisers, asset managers, insurers, fund platforms and DC master trusts.

  • Spaces available

    An online webinar delivered by John Taylor, immediate past-President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries who will look at the prospects for the actuarial profession in the era of unprecedented technological innovation.

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar you will hear first-hand from two lead authors; Louise Pryor - President Elect of the IFoA, Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership and Non-Executive Director of the Ecology Building Society. Paul Pritchard – Former IEMA Board Member with a focus on financial services and value chains. Paul also served as a Fellow at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. This webinar will provide key insights for all professionals interested in understanding and engaging with climate related financial disclosures.

  • Spaces available

    This webinar is intended to raise awareness of the shifting landscape of climate liability risk and what it means for actuaries, including how it impacts on their professional and legal duties. Presentations will cover the legal risks around climate change for investment consultants and actuaries advising DB pension schemes as well as consideration of climate risk for insurers.

  • Spaces available

    Climate change risks are likely to become material for many risk management and investment decisions. This will require to incorporate explicitly climate change in the tools used for risk management and investment decisions. At present existing climate change tools are often too crude for decision making.

  • Current Issues in Life Assurance (CILA) Webinar series

    Webinar Series
    15 July 2020 - 3 August 2020

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual 'Life' calendar. Due to COVID-19 we are running the programme as a series of webinars covering topics aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries and those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    For annuity writers, a key challenge is the need to fund capital-consumptive new business strain (NBS) as a consequence of writing the business intended to fund future distributions.

    Reinsurance, investment strategy and capital provision all have roles to play. Here, we:

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    Mortality in 2020 is now dominated by one thing, although – in our future-focused world – the pandemic is just one of many mortality considerations.  In this session, three well-regarded mortality/longevity specialists provide an overview of:

  • Spaces available

    Because of Covid-19, forecasters predict a severe recession in 2020, followed by a V or U-shaped recovery. This impacts both individuals and companies. However, compared to previous recessions, the impact on banks of higher credit losses should be mitigated to some extent by government actions. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    This session will provide an overview of the Population Health Management Working Party's research including defining impactability and impactability modelling, discussing some examples of specific modelling approaches, considering the practical challenges across the NHS as well as wider public perception and ethical issues.

  • Spaces available

    Many actuaries consider career opportunities in the Finance and Investment practice area after having started off in more traditional actuarial roles such as valuations, capital management or pricing. This session is aimed at helping actuaries to better understand roles in Finance and Investment and how they can fine tune their skills to pursue such careers.

  • Mortality and Longevity Webinar Series 2020

    Webinar Series
    22 July 2020 - 10 August 2020

    Spaces available

    Due to COVID-19, we are running this programme via a series of webinars commencing 22nd July.

    This webinar series will provide topical and practical updates and discussion on the latest thinking and innovations in mortality and longevity, and is designed to be very accessible to a broad range of experience.

     

  • Spaces available

    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.

  • Spaces available

    This webinar has been re-scheduled from its original date of the 1st July. Although ESG has many buyers across the asset allocation community, from pension funds to sovereign wealth funds, it still hasn’t found its place within the core asset management strategy desks where the money is actually invested. The problem as well as the opportunity is Fixed Income. Plenty of strategies exist for incorporating ESG within Equities, from screening, integration to a combination. ESG has picked up relatively quickly within Equities with rating,indices created using ESG factors. This talk will discuss how we price a quantifiable ESG credit risk premium and make it alpha worthy in a strategy. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series

    With the rising prevalence of dementia, how can we manage this risk effectively and can insurance do more? Matt Singleton, Ageing Lead at Swiss Re, will cover these topics and demonstrate how insurance could help people address their concerns.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This talk will look at a range of such techniques (e.g. mass lapse risk transfer, contract boundaries, risk margin relief, non-standard longevity risk transfer) that have been applied or considered by UK and EU insurers, and the pros and cons of each.

     

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance.

    The International Association of Insurance Supervisors announced on 14 November 2019 the adoption of v2.0 of the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) which will undergo confidential reporting for 5 years starting from 2020. This session will include specific experiences from Legal and General (L&G) as well as global industry perspectives from EY.

  • Spaces available

    Current Issues in Life Assurance

    This session will cover the PRA supervisory statement on financial impacts related to climate change, industry insights into PRA climate risk business plans, examples climate risk strategy setting out key workstreams and activity steps for successful execution, an overview of a climate risk strategy execution timeline and the future.     

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Using new and unique research and data from the UK, US, Sweden and China, this presentation investigates how consumers use the internet through their insurance journey and analyzes the role culture and generation plays in their online behaviour. We use this research to show the online landscape for insurance sales in the UK and suggest ways to shape new products and effectively engage with the consumer who is buying them.

  • Spaces available

    Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Gen Re Life/Health Research and Development, Dr John O'Brien, will discuss the impacts of Gene Modification for life/health insurance. 

  • Spaces available

    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, such as 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.

  • Spaces available

    The working party will help the industry to update and enhance how potential risk from diabetes and excess mortality is considered, including the need to understand the underwriting implications as treatments improve, and potentially to develop new products that are tailored to those with diabetes.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. Modelling the structure and trends of cancer morbidity risk is important for pricing and reserving in related health insurance fields such as critical illness insurance and care provision. We model the dynamics of cancer incidence over time in different regions in England, using 1981-2016 ONS data. The modelling allows estimation of cancer rates at various age, year, gender and region levels, following a Bayesian setting to account for statistical uncertainty. Our analysis indicates significant regional variation in cancer incidence rates. 

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. In this talk we will outline the steps Aviva took in pulling together our first large-scale disclosures on the exposure of our business to climate change published in March 2019; in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. After touching on why insurers have such an important role in climate change, we'll cover a brief “how-to” guide for those who have not yet embarked on thinking about these topics before giving a case study of how the learnings from a TCFD disclosure exercise can be applied to investment portfolios.

  • Spaces available

    Part of the Protection, Health and Care Conference 2020 webinar series. 

    The insurance industry currently underwrites customers with diabetes based on a range of factors, medical expertise and various medical studies. The work undertaken by the Diabetes Working Party 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 webinar will present our latest findings in the management of this important chronic condition which will include research in collaboration with the ARC.