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Actuarial Implications of Pandemic: Modelling Unemployment and Mortality Impact of Vaccination

Wednesday 9 June 2021 13:30 - 14:45

In this webinar there will be two presentations showing the research from the Health and Care practice area on two key issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic: unemployment risk and the mortality impact of vaccination.

Scott Reid will share the research on unemployment modelling. Covid-19 is causing a severe economic recession in the United Kingdom due to unprecedented government interventions, such as lockdowns, to control the virus (declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, WHO). When considering the impact on income protection (group and individual business) or private medical insurance business, actuaries will have to make difficult judgement calls on future unemployment forecasts, given the correlation between unemployment and health/wellbeing. We will discuss the forecasts made by the OBR and BoE last year and how these compare to what has actually happened. We will also consider the merits of modelling this type of systematic risk.

John Ng will discuss the mortality impact of vaccination. On 8th December 2020 the UK launched the world's first mass Covid-19 vaccination, in which priority groups were primarily structured by age. An age-structured mortality model was proposed because historical data shows that mortalities of the younger age groups are great predictors of the mortalities of the 80+ age group. Under the counterfactual ‘unvaccinated’ scenarios, the expected mortality of the 80+ age group could be predicted from the actual mortality experience of the largely unvaccinated younger age groups. We will discuss the construction of the Gompertz Network model, application of Lasso regularisation to handle multi-collinearity and estimation of mortality impact from actual vs expected analysis. The vaccination programme is estimated to have prevented 8,000 deaths by the end of February 2021. Mortality impact studies by Warwick University and Public Health England reported broadly consistent results. However, our approach is based on real-world data and does not rely on assumptions for vaccine uptake and effectiveness, thus yielding empirical evidence that the vaccines are already preventing deaths at scale in England. We will consider questions around the limitations and merits of this type of risk modelling.

There will be time for Q&A with the speakers at the end of the presentation.

The presentations are based on the following papers:





Scott Reid

Scott Reid currently works for Zurich as Global Protection & Analytics Actuary.  This is a global role where he advises on the pricing and design of new life/health insurance products and data analytic capabilities.  

He is an active volunteer within the actuarial profession including a member of the IFoA Health & Care Board, Deputy Chair of the Diabetes Working Party and recently lead of a COVID-19 Action Taskforce Heath & Care workstream.



John Ng

John Ng is Senior Data Scientist and Actuary at RGA. In this global role, John provides predictive modelling solutions for internal and external clients on mortality, morbidity, biometrics, advanced pricing capabilities and automation. John is chair of the IFoA Data Science Research Section, deputy chair of IFoA Health and Care Research committee and actively volunteers for the COVID-19 Action Taskforce.



Nay Wynn (Chair)

Nay is a Research Actuary at Hannover Re’s UK office. His responsibilities include reviewing and updating the central basis for the Life and CI product lines.

Nay has a strong interest in innovation and product development.  He leads a group of like-minded individuals from across the company, with the aim of generating and implementing ideas that are aligned to the business strategy.

Event organiser

Contact Events Team for more information.

0207 632 1498