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ARC Webinar Series 2021: Mortality inequality: what insights can we gain from cause of death data?

Thursday 21 October 2021 12:30 - 13:30

Recent research has highlighted significant inequalities in mortality and life expectancy by socio-economic group; differences that have come further under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this webinar, we will discuss how cause-of-death data from the Office for National Statistics can help us to understand how inequalities arise at the all-cause level. The key to understanding mortality inequality is to think about the chain that connects risk factors, relative risks, and cause-of-death mortality through to all-cause mortality. Mortality inequalities arise when the prevalence of specific risk factors varies significantly between geographical and socio-economic groups and where these risk factors have high relative risk associated with specific causes of death.

Risk factors that can be considered to be controllable by the individual (e.g. smoking) rather than preventable (e.g. Human Papilloma Virus) or not preventable (e.g. genetic variations) are much more likely to be associated with mortality inequality.

We will discuss how cause-of-death mortality varies by region and deprivation group and also by Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) across England. And, with reference to specific causes, we will gain insights into how specific risk factors vary between groups and through time alongside other factors such as medical advances.

We will conclude with some discussion of the potentially disruptive effect of Covid-19 on cause-of-death data.

Speaker: Professor Andrew Cairns, Heriot-Watt University

Andrew Cairns is Professor of Financial Mathematics at Heriot-Watt University. His research broadly concerns quantitative risk management of pension plans and life insurers including model and parameter risk. He has published extensively on asset strategies for pension plans, interest rate modelling and modelling and management of longevity risk, and many of his papers rank amongst the most highly cited in actuarial science. He is an active member of the International Actuarial Association having served as editor of ASTIN Bulletin and as a member of the boards of the ASTIN and AFIR-ERM sections of the IAA.


Chair: Joseph Lu, Director of Longevity Science at Legal & General

Joseph Lu leads a multidisciplinary team of experts to research and develop innovative ways to improve the understanding of mortality and longevity risks of international populations.  He works for Legal & General, one of the UKs leading annuity providers.  His work covers insurance products such as annuities, life protection, lifetime mortgage and pension de-risking solutions such as Pensions Buyouts and Buy-ins as well as Longevity risk solutions. 

Joseph gained a bio-medical research background from University of Leicester’s College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology before becoming an actuary.  He is active in research & development with the Actuarial Profession which includes being the co-author of 2 prize-winning papers ‘Longevity in the 21st Century’ and ‘Two Dimensional Mortality Data: Patterns and Projections’ presented to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.  

He has been voted Life Actuary of the Year by the actuarial community through the Actuarial Post.  He has been working with the Longevity Science Panel, bringing together experts from various disciplines to understand the implication of scientific development on longevity.  He has been focusing on longevity and mortality risk issues since 2004.


Event organiser

Contact Events Team for more information.

0207 632 1498



Online webinar