Climate change will have significant and wide-ranging effects around the world. One important impact is on the mortality of the population, which is the focus of this paper. Included is a summary of some of the leading published research in this area. It describes some of the possible future impacts on the total global population, particularly vulnerable population segments, as well as how they relate to the population covered by insurance and retirement programs.

The paper provides background information to raise awareness among actuaries and others regarding likely long-term effects of climate change on mortality. The paper also discusses related mitigation/adaptation efforts that have the potential to affect human health and life, both in adverse and favourable ways. The paper discusses possible quantitative modelling approaches to assess the net effect of climate change on mortality. The paper recognises that further research is needed to further quantify particular effects and to study ways that the adverse effects might be mitigated over the short, intermediate and long-term future. Such research should be multi-disciplinary in nature, given the complexity of the issues involved.

Kenneth Donaldson, chair of the IAA Resources and Environment Working Group said “This is an area of enormous complexity. The factors that need to be considered include both climate science and societal responses projected against a backdrop of changing economics, technology, food production and healthcare. Factoring climate risk explicitly into actuarial science has the potential to promote and shape policy at global level, but that work needs to ramp up significantly. This paper is in effect a call to arms to the profession to develop yet more sophisticated approaches to understanding and tackling the centuries old question of mortality risk in a more uncertain future.”

The paper is available on the IAA website under PUBLICATIONS/PAPERS. The paper was also presented via webinar on 29 November 2017 and the recording may be accessed here.

This activity supports the IAA’s mission to promote the role, reputation and recognition of the actuarial profession. Further, it contributes towards achieving the IAA’s strategic objective to facilitate the coordination, use and expansion of the scientific knowledge and skills of the actuarial profession, to help enhance the scope, availability, and quality of actuarial services offered by individual members of its member associations.

To learn more about the work of the IAA on this and related topics, contact the Director of Technical Activities at the IAA Secretariat.

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