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Top Charts 21-10: Differences in COVID-19 impact on pensioners in England, Scotland and Wales


Has the COVID-19 pandemic been felt differently by members of DB pension funds in England, Scotland and Wales?


Yes. Pensioners living in the UK suffered pronounced increased mortality in the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the magnitude of these waves was experienced very differently in England, Scotland and Wales. The pandemic was felt the worst across both waves in England. The Scottish first wave was nearly as bad as in England, but the second wave was milder. The effect of both waves in Wales was much lower than in England, but the second wave was felt almost as severely as the first.

Below we show some “hot off the press” output from Club Vita’s latest pandemic research, shortly to be available to our subscribers, which explores relative differences in monthly mortality rates split by various characteristics across our database of 1 in 4 UK DB pensioners. We can also produce similar charts, digging deeper into specific regions within a country or considering factors such as age, socio-economic status, income and more. The recency of the data is made possible by our new life existence checking processes that significantly reduce the lag before reporting results.

Source: Club Vita analysis of approximately 1.5m VitaBank records with recent deaths enhanced by Life Existence Checking (LEC) processes. The chart shows variations in Age Standardised Monthly Mortality Rates about the level we would have expected based upon historical trends. A reading of 100% for a particular month would mean the mortality rate in our data was the same as the expected monthly rate of mortality (with no allowance for seasonal variations).

Key takeaways:

  • The pandemic has not had a uniform effect on the mortality patterns of pensioners across the UK, demonstrated here by the regional differences between England, Scotland, and Wales.
  • These differences are likely to have been driven by a combination of many factors, including regional variations of community spread and differences in population demographics.
  • Looking at regional variations, together with variations across different industries, socio-economic groups and sectors can help pension funds get to grips with the overall effect of the pandemic on their specific members and help with future risk management strategies.
  • In normal times we would not expect seasonal variations to exceed +/-40% throughout the year, the effect of the first wave of the pandemic was over double this.

The key questions are:

  • How has your pension fund been affected by the pandemic?
  • Is this an outlier versus the general population?
  • What does that mean for the future longevity of your members?

If you’d like to know more about this analysis and what else we can do, please feel free to get in touch.

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