England and Wales have recorded lower mortality levels in the first quarter of this year than during the first quarters of 2019 and 2020, the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) has found.
The CMI's latest update also reveals that there were 2,200 fewer deaths during the first thirteen weeks of 2022 than during the corresponding weeks of 2019 in the UK as a whole.
This is despite 14,800 deaths with COVID-19 mentioned on the death certificate during that period.
Based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, the CMI believes that there have been around 118,200 more deaths than would normally be expected in the UK between the start of the pandemic and 1 April 2022.
“Despite COVID-19 deaths averaging over 1,000 a week in the first quarter of 2022, overall mortality rates during this period are slightly lower than the pre-COVID rates seen in the first quarters of 2019 and 2020,” explained Cobus Daneel, chair of the CMI's Mortality Projections Committee.
Owned by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the CMI has been publishing analysis of the UK's mortality rates during the coronavirus crisis through its mortality monitor.
Today's update comes after its latest mortality model indicated a small fall in life expectancy among 65-year-olds in England and Wales over the last year.
The CMI_2021 model – which is used by pension schemes and insurers to make assumptions about future mortality rates – produces cohort life expectancies at age 65 that are about two weeks lower, for both males and females, than the model released last year.
While this will affect actuarial calculations, the CMI said that the last two years are unlikely to be indicative of future trends. For this reason, the core version of the latest model places no weight on the data for 2020 and 2021.
“We have to go back to 1940-41 to find a period as unusual as 2020-2021 relative to the preceding five-year average,” Daneel said.
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have placed no weight on 2021 mortality experience. We did the same with the 2020 core model after a consultation process and users from the pensions and insurance industry expressed strong support for this temporary change.
“We encourage users to consider adjusting the model’s parameters to reflect their own portfolios and their views of the impact of the pandemic.”
Read more COVID-9-related articles in our latest issue of The Actuary magazine here
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Author: Chris Seekings