Hamish Wilson reports on what delegates can expect from the Protection, Health and Care Conference
After a successful conference last year at the Rum Warehouse and Titanic Hotel in Liverpool, this year's Protection, Health and Care Conference moves up the M62 to return again to the very popular Hilton in Deansgate, Manchester from 24-26 May.
As we are all aware, the past year has seen great changes in the UK and the wider world, but throughout all this, the field of medicine has continued to see remarkable advances. When this year's committee was looking to design a programme for the conference, we wanted to celebrate this and so invited submissions in the area of medical improvements, from prevention to detection to cure. We had a fantastic response and I'm delighted to say we have designed a programme that is rich with talks and discussion in all areas. Highlights include:
Prevention: Dr John Schoonbee, chief medical officer of Swiss Re, will challenge the current diet guidelines and ask whether low-carb, high-fat is the way forward (I've a personal interest in this one) while Colin Bullen from Habits at Work will ask if we are we ready for behaviour-linked insurance.
Detection: William Monday, chief medical officer of Pacific Life Re, will look at how liquid biopsies (the detection of cancer cell DNA in the bloodstream through a simple blood test) are revolutionising cancer detection and the follow-on impact on the insurance industry, while John Delfosse and Zoe Woodroffe from Gen Re will look at who the patient's advocate is for turning detection of illness into a disability claim.
Cure: Dr Ben Willcox from the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, University of Birmingham will look at how immunotherapy is being used in cancer treatments, while Dr Chris Schenk and James Shattock from Unum will look at the cancer survival trends over time in disability claims with the help of real-life case studies.
We can't, of course, ignore the pressures that medical advances, shifting demographics and austerity put on the health and social care systems.
As a result, there will be several plenaries and workshops discussing this area and, most importantly, how as an insurance industry we can play our part in improving outcomes; in helping steer the debate in the public interest, understanding the health and care funding pressures individuals will face, and in the development of suitable products to help ease this funding burden.
As well as the above, there will be a range of talks on product design, pricing, underwriting, claims and distribution across both the PMI and protection industries. As ever, the conference will also test the ability of around 200 actuaries to let their hair down, kick their shoes off and have a wild party. OK, perhaps not so wild, but again we hope to have designed a lively entertainment programme to allow attendees to network, meet old friends and make new acquaintances.
The highlight of the entertainment this year will be after-dinner stories from Alexander Armstrong, co-star of the popular quiz show Pointless, a successful comedian in his own right and a direct descendant of William the Conqueror!
I look forward to seeing you all there.
I personally am making my own efforts in the area of prevention by suffering through a diet and joining a gym, and going one step further and actually going to it too. So perhaps you'll see a bit less of me this year - or perhaps not.
The full programme and registration details for the IFoA Protection, Health and Care Conference between 24-26 May are available at: bit.ly/2017ProtectionHealthCareconference
Hamish Wilson is chair of the IFoA Protection, Health and Care Conference 2017