Insurance for a better world


Event Information

The annual Health & Ageing Conference discusses the role of the life and health insurance industry in addressing issues related to ageing societies and emerging health trends.

The 2021 conference, co-organised with AXA, took place virtually on 2–​3 December.


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Discussion overview

2021 conference

What will it take to ensure a healthy recovery from COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on our lives. A year of lockdowns has given us a new lens through which to consider our wellbeing: physical, mental, financial and – more broadly – societal.  As consumers look to the insurance industry to boost protection, health and life insurers are also having to rethink the way they do business to meet the rising complexity of health and long-term financial needs across all age groups. This conference explored a meaningful, multi-sectoral dialogue on how health and life protection will need to evolve in a post-COVID 19 world.


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Programme (times in GMT)

Thursday, 2 December


Welcome remarks 

Opening address

Part 1: Two years into COVID-19. What have we learnt?

Session 1: Taking stock of the societal impact of the pandemic

COVID-19 has catalysed global shifts that have major implications for society and the insurance industry. This session explored how the pandemic has changed attitudes towards life and health insurance as well as exacerbated existing inequities in risk protection.  


Session 2: A spotlight on vaccines – How will they shape health risks?

Vaccine hesitancy is a major threat to global health; it can be difficult to understand, not least due to the polarised views on the subject. This session took a deep dive into vaccine technology to understand its specific and non-specific effects on our immune system over time and how it may influence the future risk landscape and inform public discourse. 

Lunch break

Session 3: Health and health systems – What did COVID-19 hurt the most?

The chronically ill, vulnerable and elderly have suffered the most during the pandemic. Where and why did our response go wrong, what lessons have we learnt and what can we expect from new risks such as long COVID? This session looked beyond the headline statistics at early expert insights. 



Part 2: Disruptive forces in health & life insurance

Session 4: Longevity and retirement – Disruptive technologies and their influence on practice

As of mid-October 2021, about 6.5 billion COVID vaccine shots have been administered globally. Some use mRNA technology developed with genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Does this approach herald an acceleration of genomic medicine? If so, how will it affect ageing and health prospects? What impact will it have on life and health insurers? This session explored these questions and offered both scientific and business perspectives.






Session 5: Climate change and health – Are we prepared?

An estimated 250,000 additional deaths per year could be attributable to climate change between 2030 and 2050, with a loss of USD 2–4 billion per year to the health sector alone. Yet, the industry has predominantly focused on implications for investments rather than liability exposures. Should we be worried? This session explored how some insurers are starting to frame the problem. 




Friday, 3 December


Part 3: Where do we go from here?

Session 6: The ‘so what’ for life and health insurers?

The events of the past 18 months have not only taught us new lessons, they have accelerated the forces that were already underway. It is not all doom and gloom, however, and many in the industry have already adjusted to new realities and begun charting their course for the future. In this session, leading insurers shared their experiences and outlook for the future.  
















Keynote speech 

Changes in health and life insurers’ business and operating models are now necessary for insurers to remain relevant and realize their social purpose. Here, Andy Briggs discussed the transformations underway at Phoenix Group to ensure the company’s sustainability and value for society.



Session 7: The role of data – The good, the bad and the ugly*

Data is the new gold and can offer huge value in healthcare and social care. Not using it responsibly, however, can breed mistrust among consumers and providers and even stifle innovation. How do we strike the right balance? This session convened stakeholders spanning the insurance, provider and regulatory worlds to understand the diverse viewpoints involved.


















*Please note, this session fell under Part 2. The timing was shifted to accomodate the virtual format.