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Interdisciplinary research in mortality/longevity/morbidity

This call for research closed on 31 August 2010 and the content on this page is for information only

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.

Background

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.

Awards

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.”

 

Contact Details

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of our awards and Honorary Fellowships, please contact the Public Affairs team on:

research@actuaries.org.uk

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Events calendar

  • China New Year Member Event and Thank-you Party for Volunteers (Beijing & Shanghai & Shenzhen)

    Beijing Chinese address: 北京瑞吉酒店 记者俱乐部酒吧,朝阳区建国门外大街21号 English address: Press Club Bar, St Regis Hotel Beijing, No. 21 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing Shanghai Chinese address:布朗石西班牙餐厅酒吧(96广场店),东方路796号九六广场1楼130单元 English address: Brownstone Tapas & Lounge (96 Plaza),  96 Plaza, F1, Room 130, No. 796 Dongfang Road Shenzhen Chinese address: 稻亭日本料理(购物公园店), 深圳市民田路购物公园北2楼206号 English address: Daoting Japanese Cuisine (Shopping Park), Room 206, No. 2 North  Building, Shopping Park, Mintian Road, Shenzhen
    22 January 2019 - 25 January 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA Beijing Office would like to invite our members in the region to join the New Year Member Event and Thank-you Party for Volunteers, to thank all our members and volunteers, to congratulate all the new qualifiers in the 2018 September exam session, and to celebrate the New Year and the Spring Festival! Food and drinks will be served. The IFoA CEO Mr Derek Cribb will also join the Beijing and Shanghai events.

  • KSS Event: How to be a High-Frequency Trader

    KPMG   Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    24 January 2019

    Spaces available

    This talk, which is based on interviews with 78 high-frequency traders (and other relevant people, such as those who supply them with information links), will ‘open the black box’ of HFT. The speaker will examine the main internal divide within HFT: between algorithms, trading groups and firms that specialise in ‘making’ (adding bids or offers to order books that cannot be executed immediately) and those that specialise in ‘taking’ (entering orders that can be executed immediately). 

  • Professional Skills Training event - Jointly organised by the IFoA and the Society of Actuaries of Thailand (SOAT)

    Ocean Life Insurance PCL, Meeting room 1, 24th Floor, 170/74-83 Ocean Tower 1 Building, Rachadapisek Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand We would like to thank Ocean Life Insurance PLC for sponsoring the venue  
    30 January 2019

    Spaces available

    Jointly organised by the IFoA and SOAT, this session held in Bangkok is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Life, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions. 

  • ARC Event on Periodical Payment Orders

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ
    20 February 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA’s Actuarial Research Centre (ARC) is convening a research event on the subject of Periodical Payment Orders (PPOs) in late February 2019.

  • IFRS17 Workshop, 21 February

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    21 February 2019

    Spaces available

    IFoA Logo for EventsThe Life Board and Life Lifelong Learning Sub-committee are running this half-day workshop on IFRS 17.

    They will provide a detailed understanding of the key concepts of the standard, as well as discuss how implementation will impact people, process and systems.  They will also share views on how the new standard will change the way insurers are viewed in the market, and share perspectives from within and outside of the profession.

     

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - London

    Ect Venues, 200 Aldersgate, St. Pauls, London EC1A 4HD
    5 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee are reviewing session feedback and will be putting together a high quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • Life and F&I One Day Workshop

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    11 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This is a cross practice life and F&I event offering high quality CPD in a series of presentations with time for Q&A after each, suitable for Life actuaries and those in finance and investments roles.

  • Spring Lecture 2019, Edinburgh - Sir John Curtice

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    The Edinburgh and London venues are now full. However, you can still register here  to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
  • Spring Lecture 2019, Live stream at Staple Inn - Sir John Curtice

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    13 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    The Edinburgh and London venues are now full. However, you can still register here  to view the event live online, allowing those who cannot attend in person to stream the lecture to their computer, laptop, tablet, and phones wherever they are in the world. 
  • Sessional Meeting: Investment risk for long term investors - risk measurement approaches

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 March 2019

    Spaces available

    The term ‘investment risk’ is often used loosely, and frequently confused with the notion of short term price volatility, particularly for equity instruments. For the long term investor, however, what is most apposite is the ability to meet future real cash flows as they become due.

  • Highlights of the Life Conference 2018 - Edinburgh

    Apex Grassmarket Hotel, 31-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HS
    19 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will cover the highlights from the Life Conference 2018 held in Liverpool. The Conference Committee are reviewing session feedback and will be putting together a high quality technical programme featuring the best sessions from the Life Conference 2018.  Book now to ensure your place.

  • KSS event - FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    20 March 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (26 March 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    26 March 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  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.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 April 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    16 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  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.

    Video case studies will be selected from the IFoA’s 20187/19 online content which covers a range of topics under an overarching theme of “Getting it right!”

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (30 April 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    30 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  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.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu 
    9 May 2019 - 10 May 2019

    Spaces available

    SAVE THE DATE

    The annual IFoA Asia conference is scheduled for 09 - 10 May 2019 in Chengdu, China.

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. This event is one of the most popular in the Life area, often drawing over 200 delegates.  

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 May 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  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.

  • Sessional Research Event - Saving for Retirement: Rules of Thumb

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    20 May 2019

    Spaces available

    How much does the average person need to save over a full working life to provide a decent retirement income? We call this the Lifetime Pension Contribution (LPC) and have attempted to quantify it. Discussing whether we have got it right is a valuable debate, touching on the anticipated level of retirement benefits, the required fund at retirement to achieve those benefits and how our conclusions fit with automatic enrolment. It is also closely related to the PLSA’s development of Retirement Income Targets.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (12 June 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    12 June 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  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.

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • Professional Skills Training - London (25 June 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    25 June 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019. 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.