Funding longer lives and elderly protection

20 - 21 Oct 2014

Organised by ETH Risk Center, and hosted by Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue
Location: Rüschlikon/Zurich, Switzerland

About the event

Two facts about the demographic transition in the industrialized economies are particularly robust and well-established. First, gains in life expectancy have been huge over the last decades and the average age at death still keeps increasing rapidly. Second, the decrease in mortality rates comes to a large extent from the fact that many severe conditions do not kill patients any more, while they still lead to serious impediments to the most basic everyday activities. As a direct consequence of these developments, people today typically spend a substantial amount of time in retirement and a large fraction of the elderly becomes invalid and dependent on care at some point of their life. Economic theory suggests that this should lead to a sustained demand for insurance against the financial consequences of a very long life and against the high costs of foster care.

However, the private markets for annuities and long-term care insurance are surprisingly small. The existence of mandatory public old-age and health insurance can explain the low demand for these products to some degree, but is not satisfactory as an explanation by its own. Is there a way to rationalize the small size of the private markets? What are the major determinants of the demand for annuities and long-term care insurance? Would it be desirable and possible to foster insurance demand? These are some of the interrogations that will be addressed during the workshop.

The two-day workshop, organised by the ETH Risk Center of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, will bring together leading academics and practitioners to discuss these challenges.

Day 1


Welcome coffee and registration


Welcome and introduction
Stephan Schreckenberg, Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue


The determinants of LTC use and expenditures: Empirical evidence for the Netherlands
Eddy van Doorslaer, Erasmus School of Economics


Can high costs justify weak demand for the home equity conversion mortage?
Thomas Davidoff, University of British Columbia


Coffee break


Work incentives of Medicaid beneficiaries and the role of asset testing
Svetlana Pashchenko, Uppsala University


To what extent do individual preferences limit long-term care insurance demand?
Romeo Fontaine, University of Bourgogne


Short Break


Elderly protection: Understanding the needs for insurance
Panel discussion chaired by Paul Embrechts, ETH Zurich

  • Thomas Gerber, AXA Switzerland
  • Julien Descombes, Swiss Re
  • Eddy van Doorslaer, Erasmus School of Economics


Dinner and networking

Day 2


Welcome coffee


What can market annuity prices teach us about longevity expectations
Moshe Milevsky, York University


Medicaid insurance in old age
Eric French, University College London


Coffee break


Banning the use of genetic tests by insurers: Potential economic impacts
Michael Hoy, University of Guelph


Long-term care and lazy rotten kids
Kersin Roeder, Luwidg-Maximilian-University


Potential solutions for LTC insurance: Combining private and public insurance? Merging LTC insurance and the pension systems?
Panel discussion chaired by Antoine Bommier, ETH Zurich

  • Matthias Aellig, Swiss Life
  • Klemens Binswanger, Swiss Re
  • Thomas Davidoff, University of British Columbia
  • Michael Hoy, University of Guelph


Optional lunch



General information


Funding longer lives and elderly protection


20 and 21 October 2014


By invitation only


Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue
Gheistrasse 37
8803 Rüschlikon
Telephone +41 43 285 8100