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UK longevity: Are we fit enough to face the future?

Professor Les Mayhew addresses longevity risk at Nicholas Barbon Insurance Lecture

Longevity risk posed by an ageing population is one of the greatest challenges facing the financial services sector in the UK. In the fifth of the 2013 series of The Nicholas Barbon Insurance Lectures, Cass Business School Professor Les Mayhew addressed this issue.

Professor Mayhew demonstrated how the government's policy of raising the statutory pension age will not ease pressures on the welfare budget. He argued that although the population is ageing and living longer, there are doubts about capacity for individuals to work up to, and beyond, planned increases in state pension age because of poor health. He points to the large number of economically inactive people in their fifties and the growing number of carers in society.

 Professor Mayhew outlined the need to direct funding towards 'healthy life expectancy'. Policies targeted toward the promotion of healthier lifestyles would enable people to work longer and, combined with changes in the retirement age, would help to increase productivity and hence economic growth.

"There is increasing acceptance that a more cost-effective way of managing ever higher health care costs is through health improvements and primary and secondary prevention." 

Chair for the lecture, Deloitte's Andrew Power, said "Professor Mayhew pointed out both the complexity of the longevity issue, which will dominate societal discussion over the next century, and also a path forward which insurers and others can follow both for commercial advantage and also the greater good".

The Nicholas Barbon Lectures explore the current macro-trends shaping the insurance sector. Over seven evenings through Spring, the lectures bring together high-profile speakers and leading executives in the Great Hall at the Chartered Insurance Institute.

See the slides from the lecture...

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