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UK Life & Pensions: A roadmap to succeed in a fast-changing sector

The UK life and pensions sector is a global centre of expertise contributing significantly to the country’s economy. But for the past 20 years the sector has been buffeted by regulatory, economic technological forces that have triggered major changes.

In this report we set out the challenges that the UK life and pensions sector faces, and a practical roadmap to help sector players prepare for the changes ahead.

There are considerable challenges ahead but with challenges come opportunities, download the full report to find out more


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The UK’s population is ageing. 18% of the population is now over the age of 65 and 2.4% is over the age of 85. As a result, the old age dependency ratio (OADR, the number of people over the age of 65 for every 1,000 people aged between 16 and 64) is increasing and in 2016 stood nationwide at 285. In 2016, only 11 of the UK’s local authorities had an OADR of more than 500; this is projected to increase to 62 by 2026 and to 157 by 2036.

Changing customer expectations

Technology has changed the way customers interact with businesses in almost every sector. People expect rapid, seamless, easy delivery of online services. It’s debatable whether that’s even possible with many of the complex products offered by life and pensions companies; as an added complication some products, such as life insurance, may be viewed as ‘static’ products in that they’re typically bought infrequently and the customer has very little subsequent interaction with the provider. It’s also clear that when it comes to financial services, customers have extremely diverse needs.

Emerging technology

The pace of technological change in the financial services sector is accelerating and transforming business models. Automation, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence brings huge potential to the life and pensions sector – improved efficiency, simpler products, reduced costs and the ability to better price risk. But it also brings risks for some; the complex legacy IT infrastructure and established workforces in the large established players is impacting their ability to adapt, leaving their business more vulnerable to new, more nimble entrants.

Customer behaviour

The UK’s population has limited capacity, or propensity, to save long-term, in part due to real earnings being flat over the past decade. Household indebtedness in the UK rose by 7% over the past five years, from £1,588.5bn in 2012 to £1,830.1bn in 2017. Unsecured consumer debt increased by 19% over the same period and is projected to reach 47% of household income by 2021.

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Alex Bertolotti

Alex Bertolotti

Partner, UK Insurance Leader and Global IFRS 17 Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7525 299694

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