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Healthcare: Conference preview: Health on the horizon

Chairman’s Preview

The Actuarial Profession’s 2009 Health and Care Conference takes place at The Hilton Glasgow from 13-15 May. The early years of the conference were held at Warwick University and attracted roughly 120 delegates, mostly actuaries. Now in its 12th year, its popularity has grown significantly, with up to 200 expected to convene in Glasgow.

Recent years have also seen increased participation from outside the actuarial profession. The growth in popularity mirrors the increasing involvement of actuaries in healthcare, and not just in the traditional insurance fields. Increasingly we are seeing actuaries more and more involved with the public sector, proving that the profession has a significant role to play in shaping and analysing public health policy. The diversity of the conference delegates and the roles that health and care actuaries fulfil from day to day are reflected in the broad mix of speakers and content at this year’s conference. Half of the plenaries involve speakers from outside the insurance industry, and three-quarters will involve presentations by non-actuaries.

The keynote speaker at previous health and care conferences has quite often been from outside both the insurance industry and the actuarial profession. This year is no exception, with the keynote address being given by Dr Richard Simpson MSP, shadow public health minister in the Scottish Parliament. It should also be acknowledged that the conference is an important opportunity for learning and continued professional development. There is always a strong focus on technical content, with a diverse selection of specialised workshop sessions providing a more intimate opportunity to share technical knowledge and engage in healthy debate.

Professional development is not all about technical competencies, however. So, in line with recent conferences, we have also included a plenary focusing on behavioural competences. The profession has always advocated good business ethics from its members; this year’s conference includes a plenary that takes a look at moral DNA — what it is, what shapes it and, more importantly, what it means for actuaries.

Finally, one shouldn’t underestimate the value of conferences in terms of networking opportunities. It provides the setting for like-minded actuaries to debate current issues, discuss business opportunities, catch up with old colleagues and make new acquaintances. To facilitate the more social side of networking, this year’s conference entertainment includes a race night as well as a gala dinner at one of Glasgow’s most famous landmarks, The Tall Ship. Similar entertainment at previous health and care conferences proves — at a statistically significant level — that actuaries can and do have fun.

I hope to see you in Glasgow in May.

Simon Moody is chairman of the Health and Care Conference organising committee.
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Plenary schedule

Plenary 1: Keynote address
The opening session from keynote speaker Dr Richard Simpson will cover changes in life expectancy with particular reference to lifestyle choices and health inequalities. Dr Simpson will examine some of the trends in the use of tobacco and alcohol, the effects upon quality of life as well as life expectancy from changes in diet and physical activity, again with reference to deprivation.
Speaker: Dr Richard Simpson, member of the Scottish Parliament, shadow public health minister

Plenary 2: A health check on healthcare
>> How will pressures on the welfare state increase the importance of the private sector?
>> How well we are doing in meeting the potential demand from consumers and employers?
>> Where are the key opportunities for private healthcare in the future?
>> How can we work with the government to realise these opportunities?
Speaker: Craig Thornton, Swiss Re

Plenary 3: What is moral DNA?
>> How does it influence our thinking, feelings and actions?
>> Age and gender differences — does mum know best?
>> How does education influence moral DNA?
>> What differences do we see by occupation?
>> So, what does it mean for us?
Speaker: Roger Steare, occupational philosopher & ethics consultant

Plenary 4: Shaping the future of long-term care
Key points include:
>> An overview of the current development and issues with LTC
>> How a partnership/integrated care model involving all the stakeholders (the state, insurance industry, care provider, care receiver) can work together, secure an agreed and sustainable mechanism to fund and deliver long-term care services
>> What role the insurance industry, represented by the Association of British Insurers, can play to facilitate and promote awareness of the need for private provision of long-term care
>> How actuaries can help to design long-term care products that complement the state provision at an affordable and fair price
>> What the government can do to foster long-term care product development; for example, formalise a state/individual contract of long-term care benefit entitlement, introduce a tax incentive to purchase long-term care products and encourage public/private partnerships.
Speakers: Nick Starling, ABI; Dr Chris Ball, Gen Re Life Health UK; Professor Jon Glasby, University of Birmingham; and Dr José-Luis Fernández, London School of Economics

Plenary 5: Whatever next?
>> What are the latest developments from the ABI work programme on reputation?
>> An update will be provided about the 2009 review of the Statement of Best Practice for Critical Illness Cover
>> What threats and opportunities are on the horizon?
Speaker: Nick Kirwan, ABI

Plenary 6: The underwriting X Factor!
Join Paul Gyseman and Andy Milburn of Munich Re as they present a mock beauty parade with two of the protection industry’s leading suppliers of ‘big T’ and ‘little T’ tele-underwriting to determine the best underwriting services supplier. Pre-event research conducted by Munich Re will unveil the five most important underwriting areas that delegates believe impact product pricing most: then the suppliers will persuade you to vote! If you’ve never had the chance to be involved in an underwriting beauty parade, this is your chance!
Speakers: Paul Gyseman and Andy Milburn, Munich Re Guest Speakers: Andrew Gething, Morgan Ash & Graham Spittles, OtterRisk Solutions

Plenary 7: Launching a UK life and health company
Is there room for another life protection provider? This talk will cover:
>> Views on the current state of the market
>> Differentiating yourself through marketing, distribution, product development and service while maintaining a holistic view on risk management
>> The biggest challenges for Fortis Life and how they were overcome
>> Early market experience.
Speaker: Martin Werth, Fortis Life UK and Roy Chappell, SCOR Global Life SE, UK Branch

Plenary 8: NHS reform
In 2008, Gordon Brown called the NHS “the best insurance system in the world”. This insurance principle is the right one for healthcare but, in truth, the UK is far from being a world leader. This session will cover:
>> NHS performance in its international perspective
>> The insurance principle in healthcare
>> Strengths and weaknesses of current UK and EU policy
>> From NHS to NHPS — a National Health Protection System.
Speaker: Andrew Haldenby, Reform

In addition to the eight plenary sessions, there are 16 workshops for delegates to choose from and they can attend four over the two-day conference. Subjects range from health micro-insurance, demographic change and insurance opportunities to ‘sorting apples from pears’ — adding waist size to the application form for the new FOS/ABI claim guidelines — one year on.

As well as actuaries working in UK companies, the IAA Health Section is also providing speakers for two of the 16 workshops. This year, aside from coming along to increase your knowledge in the areas in which you work, why not put forward an idea to or even volunteer to participate in a working party with the aim of presenting at next year’s conference?
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Background
The first Health and Care Conference was held in 1997 at Scarman House, University of Warwick, where it was held for a number of years, attracting approximately 125 delegates each time.

Health and care became an examinable subject for the first time in April 2005 and delegate numbers attending the conference slowly crept up, hitting the 200 mark in Dublin in 2008 — the first time it had left the UK. In 2009 the Conference will be held in Glasgow from 13-15 May.

Over the years, the number of members listing health and care as their predominant area of work has increased, with just under 350 members listing it as such on the profession’s database. The number signing up to the Practice Community Area currently stands at just over 400, but is expected to rise in the next few weeks as the names of those who have not signed up but do work in the area are added to the Community.