Discussion Paper 2202

A General Framework for Analysing the Mortality Experience of a Large Portfolio of Lives: With an Application to the UK Universities Superannuation Scheme

Andrew Cairns, David Blake, Kevin Dowd, Guy Coughlan, Owen Jones, and Jeffrey Rowney, Universities
We report the results of an in-depth analysis of the mortality of pensioners in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the largest funded pension scheme in the UK and one with a highly educated and very homogeneous membership. The USS experience was compared with English mortality subdivided into deprivation deciles using the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). USS was found to have significantly lower mortality than even IMD-10 (the least deprived of the English deciles), but with similar mortality improvement rates to that decile over the period 2005-2016. Higher pensions were found to predict lower mortality, but only weakly so, and only for persons who retired on the first day ofa month (mostly from active service). We found that other potential covariates derived from an individual’s postcode (geographical region and the IMD associated with their local area) typically had noexplanatory power, although there was some evidence of a north-south divide. This lack of dependence is an important conclusion of the study and contrasts with other that consider the mortality of more heterogeneous scheme memberships.   Keywords: Longevity Risk, Pensioners’ Mortality, Index of Multiple Deprivation, Age Standardised Mortality Rate, Occupation.

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