Joseph Lu, Mortality Risk Actuary, Legal & General Protection & Annuities:
"Over recent years it has been established that the population of many industrialised countries, including the UK, are living longer. By 2056 the number of people over the age of 65 in the UK is expected to increase by 9% of the total population. Projections from the UK Office of National Statistics, for example, show that the number of people within the UK who are 65 years and older is projected to grow from 9.8m in 2007 to 12.1m by 2017. So the proportion of those in work versus those in retirement will change drastically over the next few decades.
There are a number of underlying issues that have an impact on this trend such as, the state of the economy, developments in healthcare, changes in lifestyle as well as the provision people make for their retirement. We still have much to learn about these drivers and their impact on longevity, both now and in the future.
To help gain a better understanding of these various aspects and their influence on the changes in longevity that we are seeing, we have created the Longevity Science on the Web site. The site brings together research and information on the longevity populations across the globe so that information, views, and opinions may be shared so we may then benefit from more sophisticated longevity modeling.
The unique list of longevity related web links on population data, working documents and publications from international, government and research institutions will grow as we include further material and links, providing a leading reference source on the increasingly interesting and yet complex area of longevity science."
"Forecasting pensioners' longevity is a major challenge for pension funds, government bodies and annuity providers because longevity can be influenced by complex interaction of many forces including lifestyle, government policy and medical advancement. So we welcome the Longevity Science Advisory Panel's recent paper – Past and future variations by socio-economic groups in England and Wales – as it has examined historical evidence and provided valuable additional insight on the future impact of emerging science, population health trends and health services on longevity between socio-economic groups.
Annuity providers are aware of the gap in pensioners' life expectancies between those that are rich and poor, with those that are rich currently living as much as 3 and a half years longer. As a result, those pensioners in more deprived socio-economic circumstances are offered more generous annuity rates, because they are likely to receive their annuity income for fewer years.
However, with various Governments actively trying to reduce the differences between the rich and poor it had been expected that the gap in life expectancy between pensioners in different socio-economic circumstances would narrow to some extent. So it is of extreme interest that the LSAP paper has highlighted that the life expectancy gap between socio-economic groups at retirement is in fact widening rather than narrowing. This finding has a significant impact on current industry annuity pricing models.
Suppose the forces behind the reason for the gap, such as socio-economic differences in income, family histories and lifestyle continue to have such an impact. We expect a person's socio-economic circumstances would continue to be a relevant underwriting factor in establishing a person's longevity.
A copy of the report, Life Expectancy: Past and Future Variations by Socio-Economic Groups in England and Wales, is available to download at: http://www.longevitypanel.co.uk/life-expectancy-by-socio-economic-group.html"
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