Factors Affecting Retirement Mortality


As many countries consider mandatory individual retirement accounts as their answer to a secure Social Security system, the question arises as to whether all workers can get true “market value ” annuities when they retire. It is clear today that private sector life annuities are priced assuming that the applicant is healthy—very healthy. Very little underwriting or risk classification now exists in the individual annuity marketplace. However, if a large percentage of the population were looking to annuitize their Social Security accounts upon retirement, there would be strong pressure for more risk classes in the annuity pricing structure. Even without the advent of individual accounts for Social Security, the authors of this paper feel there may be real market opportunities for more risk classification in the individual annuity market and the offering of “impaired life annuities”. Given that this pressure does or might soon exist, this paper reviews 45 recent research papers that look at factors that affect mortality after retirement. In particular, factors that seem to be important in predicting retirement mortality include: age, gender, race and ethnicity, education, income, occupation, marital status, religion, health behaviors, smoking, alcohol, and obesity. For each factor, this paper gives highlights relative to the named factor of the impact expected from that variable as described in the 45 reviewed research papers. The authors believe there is a wealth of information contained in the summaries that follow, and it is our sincere hope that this paper will cause an increased interest in a more broadly-based risk classification structure for individual annuities

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