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Big data, big health, big impact

In this blog, Jules Constantinou, IFoA President, discusses the use of actuarial science to assess risk and evaluate longevity improvement. 

As President of the IFoA, I’m especially interested in how actuarial science can be deployed to address some of the key issues facing our society. I’m proud of the way the profession helps underpin both commercial activity and governmental policy in areas such as obesity, health and social-care technology and health-related lifestyle choices.Jules Constantinou, IFoA President

So I was particularly pleased to have been asked to bring together some of the latest thinking on how innovative actuarial modelling can be combined with health interventions to assess basis risk and evaluate longevity improvement.

Attending the event on 17 May were, of course, my colleagues in the profession; but we were also joined by medical and public health professionals, insurance companies and the representatives of various government and policy bodies. 

Our focus was on exploring how a wide range of current and future scale medical advances or health interventions (for example changes in NICE guidelines) could impact on longevity and population projections – and hence impact upon government policy or business models in the realm of pensions and insurance.

I was struck by the sheer diversity of the participants and potential applications for this “big data” approach to longevity and morbidity risk, and the value our participants brought to the programme. This will help to shape the future priorities, methods and outputs of this innovative research programme. The key highlights from this workshop will be available on the programme’s webpage shortly.

Commissioned by the IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), this flagship programme seeks to understand how the complex ongoing changes in our lifestyle, improvements in medical interventions and the “big data” revolution can all be combined to better model a range of longevity outcomes.

Actuarial Research Centre, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Alongside our partners Aviva and the University of East Anglia and led by Prof Elena Kulinskaya, our goal is to understand how the profession can use new techniques and technology to model trends in life expectancy, changes in the causes of death and the socio-economic divide.

By bringing together industry, leading actuarial professionals and academic specialists, we believe we can develop the models, insight and practical tools necessary to ensure actuaries, their employers and society more generally can benefit from emerging fields such as this. 

Crucial to the ARC’s success is that we develop this workshop in partnership going forward.

If you are interested please get in touch

Jules Constantinou, IFoA President