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Seven things we learnt from the ABI Social Care Summit A World to Grow Old In

The ABI hosted a conference on January 21, 2014 about international lessons for the new social care system and the role of the insurance industry.

Here are our seven key learning points from the event:

  1. The UK has an ageing population, and by 2020 there will be two million more people who are aged 65+. Because there is no general trend in improving health and disability status of the elderly, many more people will need social care in the future putting pressure on the current model of social care provision and funding. The Care Bill currently before Parliament will bring in long-awaited reforms to the system.

  3. Social care will not only impact those with care needs, but also family and friends who provide informal care. The UK has the third highest percentage of its population reporting to be informal carers providing help with activities of daily living (at 18.2%, compared with the 15.6% average for OECD countries). This has an impact on wider employment and retirement policies, including for the role of protection insurance.  

  5. We can take some comfort that social care funding is a conundrum facing the international community. According to Yuki Murakami of the OECD, even conservative projections suggest health and care spending will continue to grow. There are some interesting international comparisons from which the UK can draw lessons, including the role of compulsion in countries such as Germany and Singapore and the extent of out-of-pocket expenditure despite having social and private insurances in place. Dr Joan Costa-Font of the London School of Economics pointed out that social care is the largest uninsured welfare risk in the US, which is perhaps a similarity to be avoided.

  7. There are major implementation challenges arising from the new reforms, with the impact on local authority services in an era of budget cuts creating its own tension. Encouraging people to plan for care by demonstrating the high quality of care services was discussed, along with the need for transparency to overcome any variability in service provision. There was strong identification with the challenge of developing product solutions while the details of the system are still being decided.

  9. It was generally agreed that there is no silver bullet solution to fund individual’s care needs. We heard from Jules Constantinou of Gen Re about potential solutions being largely in the retirement income space, with strong encouragement for those still working to save. We also heard from Steve Groves of Partnership about their efforts to help people understand the cost of care and how to prepare. 

  11. There is industry appetite to overcome these barriers and a roadmap has been developed on how to create the right conditions for market growth, with the launch of the joint Statement of Intent between the industry and Government. Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb praised the collaborative process and partnership working and gave reassurances on key areas such as stability of the system and improving public understanding and access to advice.

  13. Finally, looking to the future with the help of Ruth Marvel, we can expect greater demand for bespoke and luxury care options to grow alongside the need for innovation of new low cost options. Technology will drive change and allow people to monitor health conditions through digital devices, as well as increase mobility through smart vehicles and robots.

For more information, download a full presentation slide pack (pdf 5MB).

Last updated 01/07/2016