Pandemic risk modeling crucial to navigating the crisis

  • Stephanie Koch

    RGA exists to provide security in turbulent times, and the critical role our modeling expertise plays in advancing that mission has never been more evident than it was in 2020.

    Stephanie Koch

    Senior Vice President, Global Analytics and In-force Management

RGA’s preparedness for pandemics has historically included modeling and simulation of the impact and uncertainties that might be faced, supported by a Pandemic Risk Team in place for quick response. When COVID-19 emerged, RGA swiftly utilized a range of resources and collaborative strength to develop models, specific to the disease and its uncertainties, that informed employee safety, business continuity, financial confidence, risk acceptance, and knowledge sharing.

RGA’s global network of actuaries, researchers, data scientists, and medical professionals closely followed emerging COVID-19 studies and data to develop and inform models and scenario analyses.


These models have enabled RGA to navigate this unique crisis:

  • Office occupancy across regions has been determined by models that estimate the risk of working in the office, including plans customized by local offices to manage the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
  • Biometric models estimated claims under various scenarios, while economic scenario models estimated changes in credit defaults, impairments, and migration, as well as impacts on discount rates and credit spreads.
  • Further models supported crucial understandings and decision-making for earnings impacts, in addition to availability and sufficiency of capital, liquidity, and collateral. These are key areas of interest for regulators, clients, investors, and ratings agencies.
  • Models also informed underwriting bulletins and updates, starting with the launch of a dedicated section for COVID-19 in the Global Underwriting Manual. At the beginning of 2021, we released the first underwriting guidance for individuals who have been vaccinated, providing clients the most current insights and analysis, guided by the latest scientific research and scenario modeling.
  • In addition, modeling helped fuel RGA's thought leadership efforts in 2020. Our Global Medical, Global Research, and Data Analytics teams shared timely, extensive evaluations with both internal and external audiences. A major highlight was a white paper on COVID-19 mortality rates by age and gender that consistently ranked near the top of relevant Google searches. The paper was cited in multiple prominent industry publications and became the most visited page ever on the RGA Knowledge Center.

Our modeling work continues, especially looking ahead to longer-term implications of COVID-19. We are also gathering lessons learned from this experience – the use of data, modeling, and insights – that will help us better plan for, assess, and react to the next pandemic.

RGA exists to provide security in turbulent times, and the critical role our modeling expertise plays in advancing that mission has never been more evident than it was in 2020.

    • Michael Keating
      Michael Keating

      Vice President, Business Continuity Management

    Long-standing, dedicated team prepared RGA for pandemic

    “Previous work was essential for business continuity, allowing RGA to start seeing trends and modifying business operations earlier than others.”

    READ MORE

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