Now that the dust of the pandemic is finally settling, we can allow ourselves to look forward. Beyond tomorrow. One of the major challenges facing large parts of the world is aging. But aging also provides new opportunities. The 60-plus generation is the fastest-growing consumer group and enjoys an increasingly higher spending power. This silver economy is a golden opportunity. A great new profit pool arises with exceptional opportunities for companies to contribute to society, to innovate and to profit. Also for insurers and insurtechs. That is, if you know how to seize these opportunities.
We all live longer
Thanks to better living conditions and medical care, we all live longer. The life expectation of a newly born in Germany was only 73 years in 1980. Now this is 81. We can already see the effects: more than 20% of the roughly 450 million people in the EU are older than 65. That makes a total of about 90 million people. The silver segment is likely to represent 60 percent of consumption growth in Western Europe, North America and Northeast Asia, says McKinsey. According to the European Commission, the whole of Europe’s silver economy is currently the third largest economy of the world, behind only the US and China. It could be worth 5.7 trillion euros by 2050, says EarlyMetrics. This is a large and interesting market. We see all kinds of new innovative concepts across industries that respond to this attractive target group. Dating sites for people over 55 for instance. Unilever and L’Oreal created various products to ‘age gracefully’. These are good examples to show that when thinking about the silver economy we should not think of stereotypes. As if the aging population is all about people who need very special care. Many elderly people are much more vital than the elderly in 1980. They want to keep up, be independent, stay mobile, have a social life – above all, be happy. That is more important than ‘health at all costs’. It is essential for companies and especially tech companies operating in the area of digital healthcare to understand these different needs.
Decreasing future workforce
In addition to aging, another important demographic trend is taking place. In 2019, in the EU, the total fertility rate stood at 1.53 births per woman. Spain (1.23) and Italy (1.27) are among the countries with the lowest figures. Note that, to ensure a stable population, a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed. The effect of this trend is significant. The youngest generation keeps shrinking in numbers, while the pool of elderly becomes bigger. Pensions acts and welfare systems are becoming unsustainable as there will be fewer people in the labour pool. The solution seems simple: more immigration is needed to remain a stable population, raising the retirement age, people should save more for a longer retirement and we have to ensure that people remain part of the labour market for a longer period of time. These solutions turn out to be politically difficult and unpopular discussions with little result so far. Moreover, older employees who lose their job hardly get a new job. As if they have already been written off.
Current health systems not sustainable
The combination of aging and a shrinking working population is also taking its toll on health systems. In most developed markets, current health systems are not sustainable. The costs of health systems are increasing because more and more people are making use of them. At the same time, the shrinking labour pool makes it increasingly difficult to meet the growing demand for health care professionals. There are more elderly than people who can actually take care them.
It seems like an insoluble situation. But often, the more imperfections, the more room for innovation. More and more young tech companies are noticing this and come up with ground-breaking solutions. And, perhaps odd to say so, but ‘thanks to covid’, the conditions for such initiatives have rapidly become much more favourable. Let me explain:
1 – Much more attention for health
The past year made clear that, at the end of the day, for most people, there is nothing of greater importance than your life and health. Consumers are more aware of the importance of adequate life and health insurance plans. But not just your regular life and health plans. All sorts of health apps experience a growing popularity. To monitor what you do, how you sleep, what you eat, how you feel, how much you exercise, and so on. And there is m">
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