On 15 April 2011 Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man and second-oldest person, died aged 114.
Walter, who lived at the Rainbow retirement home in Montana in America, was born on 21 September 1896 and attributed his longevity to eating just 2 meals a day, working as long as he could and always embracing change, especially death.
“We're all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die” Walter said in Decenber.
In the future there are likely to be a lot of centenarians like Walter.
Figures published recently by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) based on research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using UK population projections and life expectancy estimates
reveal that of the 11 million children currently aged under 16 in Britain, 3.3 million i.e. 30% can expect to celebrate their centenary.
In all, 11 million people alive today are expected to live to 100. This is 1 in 6 of the population. Of those, 5.4 million are now aged between 17 and 50 and 1.4 million are between 51 and 65. In 2066, there will be at least 500,000 people aged 100 or over. This is 4 times greater than the corresponding figures 30 years ago.
What does all this mean for schedules, counter schedules and multipliers?
30 years ago, full life multipliers awarded by the courts rarely exceeded about 20. However, using the ONS data, a 5 year old boy in England in 2011 has a statistical life expectancy of 84.2 years. A 5 year old girl’s life expectancy in England in 2011 is 87.6 years. These would result in multipliers of 35.72 and 36.23 respectively.
The news from the ONS for Scottish 5 year olds is not so good. Their life expectancy is only 81.5 and 85.9 years respectively.
All this means, I think, at least 3 things. First, multipliers and thus the value of claims will continue to increase. Secondly, claims relating to loss of pension are likely to feature much more prominently in schedules and counter schedules. Thirdly, the DWP official seconded to Buckingham Palace, known officially as the Centenarian Clerk, whose job it is to ensure centenarians receive a card from the monarch on their 100th birthday will be very busy in 2066!