John Hancock and MIT AgeLab launch longevity collaboration

Five-year, multimillion dollar collaboration will develop cutting-edge longevity preparedness index to drive better health and wealth outcomes.

John Hancock, in partnership with its parent company Manulife, has announced a significant collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab. Over the next five years, this multimillion-dollar venture aims to redefine the landscape of longevity innovation and create a longevity preparedness index.

Through innovation, research and thought leadership, the collaboration hopes to drive actionable insights for the business community, policymakers, and individuals and their families.

Longevity.Technology: The importance of proactive measures that address the challenges of an aging population should not be understated. We have discussed the possibilities of longevity companies leading by example, and partnering with financial institutions to offer innovative savings and retirement plans that cover this new demographic, and aging expert Andrew Scott has suggested hybrid life and retirement insurance could be a possible solution. We are currently facing a preparedness vacuum – an aging population, diminishing pension assets and increasing healthcare burden. Helping people to understand how to be proactive about their futures and take preventive steps to ensure longer healthspans will be to everyone’s benefit.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the global population aged over 60 is expected to double by 2050 to a staggering 6.1 billion [1]; this highlights the urgency of addressing the challenges associated with aging, and with advancements in healthcare leading to longer lifespans, there is a pressing need to understand and prepare for the intersection of health and wealth.

“The fastest-growing age cohort in the world is people over 85. As we continue to see people live longer lives, it is crucial that we gain new insight into how we can make longer lives synonymous with better and healthier lives,” said Brooks Tingle, president and CEO, John Hancock.

We fundamentally believe in helping make this a reality and know that this ambition does not start and end within the walls of our business. That’s why we’re committed to partnering with leaders in the space, like the MIT AgeLab, to help provide others – from policymakers to industry leaders to healthcare advocates – with critical learnings that can scale our shared mission to drive better health and wealth outcomes for our customers and communities.”

The collaboration between Manulife/John Hancock and the MIT AgeLab seeks to address the silver tsunami by developing strategies for maximizing financial planning, health and wellness, work and retirement transitions, housing choices, end-of-life planning and technological advancements tailored to support individuals at every stage of the aging process.

A key outcome of this collaboration is the development of a first-of-its-kind longevity preparedness index. This index, to be produced annually over five years, will gauge the readiness of Americans to live longer, healthier lives. By providing data-driven insights, the index aims to inform better financial planning, health behaviors and societal structures necessary for supporting an aging population. The research will commence in spring 2024 and is expected to expand to include Canada as the collaboration progresses.

Dr Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, will lead this ambitious initiative alongside a team of social and data scientists. The group will not only focus on developing the index but will also host workshops throughout the year to facilitate discussions on longevity, generational dynamics, new technologies and behavioral insurance. Additionally, Manulife/John Hancock has joined the MIT AgeLab PLAN, an industry consortium dedicated to enhancing financial advice to prepare individuals for longer, healthier lives.

“My research team is excited to embark on this research collaboration with Manulife/John Hancock,” said Coughlin, who is also author of the bestselling 2017 book, The Longevity Economy.

“The spirit of MIT is to think and do. We want not only to identify the many different dimensions of what it takes to live longer, better; but also to measure the preparedness of a nation to live 100 good years. It is our shared objective that our work will educate and motivate people to do what it takes for themselves, their families, and their communities – to turn a longer life into a better life for all.”

This collaboration aligns with Manulife’s Impact Agenda, which aims to promote sustained health and well-being. It builds upon John Hancock’s commitment to longevity, as demonstrated by its inaugural Longer. Healthier. Better. Symposium held in 2023, where global leaders convened to discuss the future of aging. Moreover, Manulife has endorsed the World Economic Forum’s Longevity Economy Principles, advocating for a strategic approach to addressing the global longevity crisis.

The collaboration between Manulife/John Hancock and the MIT AgeLab represents a significant step forward in addressing the complex demographic and societal issues surrounding longevity. By leveraging research, innovation and collaboration, it is hoped this initiative can pave the way for a future where individuals are encouraged to take responsibility for their longevity and are supported by their employers, communities and healthcare systems to do so, with a focus on maximizing healthspan forming part of policy and education.

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/02/longevity-economy-principles-ageing-population/