Connecting generations: Funding longer lives

04 Feb 2014

Organised by: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue

About the event

The world is ageing. Increasing life expectancy and falling birth rates are well established in developed countries –and similar trends are taking place rapidly in many emerging economies.

This is a great challenge for our society. Welfare models have been built for a large number of young people supporting a small number of old people. Instead, a growing elderly population often depends on a declining younger population.

As a result, governments are seeking ways to continue funding the promises made to older people. This often involves placing more emphasis on future individual saving, meaning that the young could pay for some of the current seniors' ageing needs as well as their own.

How can we continue to afford funding retirement income, social care and healthcare needs without overburdening the young? How can we incentivise people to better prepare for their old age? Could insurance play a greater role? Is it time for a rethink of the education-career-retirement model?

Entrepreneurs, industry experts, government representatives and researchers will discuss the roles of different generations in tackling the financial challenges posed by our ageing societies.

You can join the discussion  on funding longer lives at our Open Minds blog!

The Swiss Re 150 year anniversary event series 'connecting generations' brings together international experts, entrepreneurs and practitioners to discuss current and future economic, political and societal risks and opportunities. The four events will focus on energy, food security, funding longer lives and natural catastrophes.
Learn more about Swiss Re's 150-year anniversary.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014




Welcome and introduction
Klemens Binswanger, Senior Client Manager, Swiss Re


A pension system for the modern era - fantasy or reality?
Ros Altmann, Independent expert on pensions policy, savings and retirement, former government policy adviser


Interactive panel discussion
Moderated by Klemens Binswanger, Senior Client Manager, Swiss Re

  • Ros Altmann, Independent expert on pensions policy, savings and retirement, former government policy adviser
  • Christophe Heck, Client Manager Life & Health - Graduate, Swiss Re
  • Heinz Locher, Management & Consulting Services, former Chairman of the Board of the Alliance of Swiss Health Insurers
  • Manouchehr Shamsrizi, Leader of Tomorrow, 41st + 42nd St. Gallen Symposium


Funding long-term care: beyond pouring money into the pot?
Manouchehr Shamsrizi, Leader of Tomorrow, 41st + 42nd St. Gallen Symposium


Interactive panel discussion
Panellists and moderators as above


Apéro and networking

This event will be broadcasted live, photographed, videotaped, and/or recorded. A summary, pictures and/or a video of the event in which you may appear may be posted and made available on Swiss Re’s and the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue’s internal and external websites and in printed materials




Opening minds and connecting generations is at the heart of Swiss Re's 150th anniversary celebrations. Attendees at the 'Funding longer lives' event considered not just the need to rethink current pension systems in order to maintain intergenerational solidarity; we may soon have to rethink the concept of ageing itself.

Ros Altmann, one of the foremost pension experts in the UK, explained how demographic profiles are changing in industrialised economies. They are changing as a result of two forces: a fall in the death rate, as we live longer; and a fall in the birth rate. Pension systems across much of the world, however, have failed to adapt to a changing population structure. Indeed, as part of a legacy of mass job lay-offs in the 1970s and 1980s, many pensions systems have been going the wrong way, as workers have become increasingly accustomed to early retirement. This demographic drag is inevitable; and continuing to rely on intergenerational solidarity as we have done is not a realistic option.

To read the entire summary, please click here.