Knowledge experts: Longer, healthier lives

Severine Rion, who leads Swiss Reʼs dedicated L&H research team, at her offices in Zurich (photo)

Severine Rion, who leads Swiss Reʼs
dedicated L&H research team,
at her offices in Zurich

How long will you live? For Life & Health Reinsurance (L&H), the ability to understand and model life expectancy is at the very centre of managing risk. Even small moves in the average life expectancy can cause large shifts in the costs of funding peopleʼs retirements. A one-year increase in life expectancy could raise a pension fundʼs liabilities by 5%, or USD 50 million for every USD 1 billion in liabilities.

Ageing is not just about the length of life. We also want people to be healthier longer. The insurance industry has a key role in ensuring appropriate funding for medical services, long-term care facilities and medication.

“At SwissRe Life & Health R&D we are a global, multi-disciplinary team. We collaborate with thought leaders around the world to understand both individual and population risk, as well as the interaction between risk and behaviour. Our innovative research aims to predict future trends and supports the development of new re/insurance products.”

Severine Rion

Head, Life & Health R&D Europe Swiss Re

In order to fund healthier, longer lives, it is essential that Swiss Reʼs models are up-to-date, or even ahead of the curve.

In 2013, Swiss Reʼs dedicated L&H research team developed different forward-looking scenarios as to how we will manage cancer in the future. The researchers looked at potential improvements in survival rates for a range of cancers due to new “high-potential” drugs, improved diagnosis and screening techniques, and even changes in lifestyle and diet. The project drew upon Swiss Reʼs own in-house expertise in oncology, medicine, nursing, pharmaceuticals, genetics, underwriting and claims, as well as insights from external experts around the world.

The teamʼs conclusions will enhance the predictive value of our life and health models, improving our understanding of the future financial responsibilities that our clients will shoulder.

For more on our activities regarding longevity go to