Showing posts with label projection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label projection. Show all posts

Jan 8, 2011

The Life Expectancy Variance Monster

After 'age', what would be the most important explanatory factor with regard to mortality rates or constructing life tables?

As actuaries we've demonstrated our innovation capabilities by developing life tables not only based on 'age' and 'gender', but also (two dimensional) on 'time', 'generation' and 'year of birth'. This helped us to extrapolate future mortality rates in order to predict future longevity with more accuracy.

However, despite our noble initiatives, these developments turn out to be insufficient to put the Longevity Variance Monster back in his cage.

Modern 'life expectancy at birth' predictions for periods of 40 to 50 year ahead, lead to 95% confidence intervals of 12 years or more. Unusable outcomes .....

Let's not even discuss more necessary accurate confidence intervals of 99% or more ....

In our attempt (duty?) to moderate and diminish future life expectancy variance, we'll have to develop new instruments.

The more we know which risk factors 'are responsible for the increase in 'life expectancy', the better we can estimate and diminish future variance.

One of those new approaches is to calculate life expectancies on basis of postcodes.

This new insight can be helpful, but there's a much more important risk factor that has to be included in our life expectancy predictions to definitely kill the Longevity Variance Monster:

Self-perception of aging

In a 2002 research "Longevity From Positive Self-Perceptions" by Levy ( et al.) it became undeniable clear that:
  • negative self-perceptions diminish life expectancy;
  • positive self-perceptions prolong life expectancy.
Older people with more positive self-perceptions of aging, measured up to 23 years earlier, lived on average (median survival) 7.6 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging. This advantage remained after age, gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness, and functional health were included as covariates.

Top 6 Life Expectancy Risk Factors
Here's Levy's top 6 list of risk factors on life expectancy (ordered from greatest to least impact on life expectancy):

  1. Age
  2. Self-Perceptions of aging
  3. Gender
  4. Loneliness
  5. Functional health
  6. Socio-economic status

As we can not change 'age' nor 'gender', let's put some more research on the other risk factors.

Once we achieve to 'explain' the cause of increase of life expectancy on basis of 'new' (soft) risk factors, we - as a society - will also be able to manage life expectancy better (information, education, training, coaching, etc.).

In this way actuaries can help society so that people live longer and stay happy in good health. All on basis of of a sound financial pension and health system, as predicted life expectancy will show a smaller variance.

Help to kill the Life Expectancy Variance Monster.....

Happy 2011, with better expectations and smaller variance!

Sources/related Links:

- Why population forecasts should be probabilistic
- On line Postcode Life Expectancy Tool
- Longevity From Positive Self-Perceptions
- Predicting successful aging (2010)

Jul 14, 2010

Solvency II Project Management Pitfalls

When you - just like me - wonder how Solvency (II) projects are being managed, join the club! It's crazy...., dozens of actuaries, IT professionals, finance experts, bookkeepers accountants, risk managers, project and program managers, compliance officers and a lot of other semi-solvency 'Disaster tourists' are flown in to join budget-unlimited S-II Projects.

On top of it all, nobody seems to understand each other, it's a  confusion of tongues..... 

Now that the European Parliament have finally agreed upon  the Solvency II Framework Directive in April 2009, everything should look ready for a successful S-II implementation before the end of 2012. However, nothing is farther from the truth.....

Solve(ncy) Questions in Time
The end of 2012 might seem a long way of...
While time is ticking, all kind of questions pop up like:
  • How to build an ORSA system and who owns it?
  • What's the relation between ORSA and other systems or models, like the Internal Model
  • Where do the actuarial models and systems fit in?
  • What are financial, actuarial, investing and 'managing' parameters, what distinguishes them, who owns them and who's authorised and competent to change them?
  • How to connect all IT-systems to deliver on a frequent basis what S-II reporting needs......?
  • How to build a consistent S-II IT framework, while the outcomes from QIS-5 (6,7,...) are (still) not clear and more 'Qisses' seem to come ahead?
  • Etc, etc, etc, etc^10

The Solvency Delusion
Answering the above questions is not the only challenge. A real 'Solvency Hoax' and other pitfalls seem on their way....

It appears that most of the actuarial work has been done by calculating the MCR and SCR in 'Pillar I'.

It's scaring to observe that the 'communis opinio'  now seems to be that the main part of the S-II project is completed. Project members feel relieved and the 'Solvency II Balance Sheet' seems (almost) ready!

Don't rejoice..., it's a delusion!  The main work in Pillar II (ORSA) and Pillar III (Reporting, transparency) still has to come and - at this moment - only few project managers know how to move from Pillar I to Pillar II.

Compliancy First, a pitfall?
With the Quantitative Impact Study (QIS-5) on its way (due date: October 2010) every insurer is focusing on becoming a well capitalized Solvency-II compliant financial institution.

There is nothing wrong with this compliance goal, but 'just' becoming 'solvency compliant' is a real pitfall and unfortunately not enough to survive in the years after 2010.

Risk Optimization
Sometimes, in the fever of becoming compliant, an essential part called "Risk Optimization" seems to be left out, as most managers only have an eye for 'direct capital effects' on the balance sheet and finishing 'on time', whatever the consequences......

Risk Optimization is - as we know - one of the most efficient methods to maximize company and client value. Here's a limited (check)list of possible Risk Optimization measurements:

1. Risk Avoidance
- Prevent Risk
   • Health programs
   • Health checks
   • Certification (ISO, etc)
   • Risk education programs
   • High-risk transactions
      (identify,eliminate, price)
   • Fraud detection
      (identify,eliminate, price)
   • Adverse selection
      (identify, manage, price)

- Adjust policy conditions
   • Exclude or Limit Risk  
   • Restrict underwriter
      (excess, term, etc)

- Run-off portfolios/products

2. Damage control
- Emergency Plans (tested)
- Claims Service, Repair service
- Reintegration services

3. Risk Reduction
- Diversification

- Asset Mix, ALM
- Decrease exposure term
- Risk Matching
- Decrease mismatch
- Outsourcing, Leasing

4. Risk Sharing
- Reinsurance (XL,SL,SQ)
- Securitization, Pooling
- Derivatives, Hedging
- Geographical spread
- Tax, Bonus policy

5. Risk Pricing
- Exposure rating, Experience rating
- Credibility rating, Community rating
- Risk profile rating

6. Equity financing
- IPO, Initial Public Offering
- Share sale, Share placement
- Capital injections

Solvency-II Project Oversight
Just to remind you of the enormous financial impact potential of 'Risk Optimization' and to keep your eye on a 'helicopter view level' with regard to Solvency-II projects and achievements, here's a (non-complete but hopefully helpful) visual oversight of what has to be done before the end of 2012.....

(Download big picture JPG, PDF)

Be aware that all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Key Control Indicators (KCIs) must be well defined and allocated. Please keep also in mind that one person’s KRI can be another’s performance indicator(KPI) and a third person’s control-effectiveness indicator.

Value Added Actions
As actuaries, we're in the position of letting 'Risk Optimization' work.
We're the 'connecting officers' in the Solvency Army, with the potential of convincing management and other professionals to take the right value added actions in time.

Don't be bluffed as an actuary, take stand in your Solvency II project and add real value to your company and its clients.

Related Links:

- A Comparison of Solvency Systems: US and EU
- UK Life solvency falls under qis-5
- Determine capital add-on
- Reducing r-w assets to maximize profitability and capital ratios
- Risk: Who is who?
- Balanced scorecard including KRIs (2010)
- Solvency II, Piller II & III
- Risk Adjusted Return On Risk Adjusted Capital (RARORAC)
- ERM: “Managing the Invisible" (pdf; 2010)
- Unlocking the mystery of the risk framework around ORSA
- Risk  based Performance: KPI,KRI,KCI
- Risk of risk indicators (ppt;2004)
- Defining Risk Appetite
- Risk appetite ING KPI/KRI
- Board fit for S II?
- How to compute fund vaR?
- Technical Provisions in Solvency II
- Insurers should use derivatives to manage risk under Solvency II 
- Solvency Regulation and Contract Pricing in the Insurance Industry
- Overview and comparison of risk-based capital standards 
- Solvency II IBM
- Reinsurance: Munich Re  , Reinsurance solvency II

Jul 4, 2009

H1N1 Swine Flu Projection

Strange... a lot of (WHO) swine flu talk and information on the Internet, but no worldwide projections or estimates....

The risk of underestimating the so called H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus is not unthinkable.

Worldwide Projection H1N1 Virus

You don't have to be an actuary or mathematician to make a sound projection of the number of people that will be infected (or die) within the next months. All it takes is 'basic high school' and a common spreadsheet.

Let's make a simple worldwide projection of the expected cases (infections) based upon the WolframAlpha data-set:

The purple line illustrates the development of the number of infections worldwide, the dotted purple line illustrates the expected projected development until the end of july 2009.

With one view it's clear is that during the next months the H1N1 virus spread will be enormous. By the end of July 2009 the number of worldwide infections will rise to almost 0.5 million. The spread of the virus will probably be enforced by the fact that a lot of people have their holidays and therefore travel by plane or bus.

As one would aspect, the development of the number of infections is exponential. The (natural) logarithm of the expected cases (dashed red line) is almost a linear curve. You may find more information of data and projections in the next XLS spreadsheet.

Big Explosion
If no additional prevention actions will be taken, a big explosion of the virus starts just after the holiday period in 2009.

It is questionable if the planned vaccinations for October or later will be in time.Perhaps it's better to have a vaccination, or take Tamiflu, than a vacation in July or August.

Global Infection
If no adequate rigid measures will be taken within the next months, the future of humanity could be serious at stake:

Unrestrained exponential growth on basis of the the current growth-path, will lead to a more or less complete global infection by the end of January 2010.

By then ruffly 36 million people worldwide, will have died. If the mortality rate doesn't stabilize (as it currently appears) at 0.45% of the infected people, the effects could be worse.

As the famous 'Wheat and chessboard problem' already illustrated, exponential growth is a dangerous underestimated killer. It's just like a tsunami: when you notice it, it's too late to act.

Let's trust governments are not underestimating this Swine virus threat.

Happy holidays!

Related Links:
- World Population Density
- U.S. Death rates influenza virus 1918
- Visual Flu Tracker
- LinkedIn: InArm: Important remarks by Dave Ingram

Important Notice