We investigate developments in Danish mortality based on data from 1974-1998 working in a two-dimensional model with chronological time and age as the two dimensions. The analyses are done with non-parametric kernel hazard estimation techniques. The only assumption is that the mortality surface is smooth. Cross-validation is applied for optimal bandwidth selection to ensure the proper amount of smoothing to help distinguishing between random and systematic variation in data. A bootstrap technique is used for construction of pointwise confidence bounds. We study the mortality profiles by slicing up the two-dimensional mortality surface. Furthermore we look at aggregated synthetic population metrics as 'population life expectancy' and 'population survival probability'. For Danish women these metrics indicate decreasing mortality with respect to chronological time. The metrics can not directly be used for prediction purposes. However, we suggest that life insurance companies use the estimation technique and the cross-validation for bandwidth selection when analyzing their portfolio mortality. The non-parametric approach may give valuable information prior to developing more sophisticated prediction models for analysis of economic implications arising from mortality changes.
Scandinavian Actuarial Journal, 2004, Issue 2, p. 133-156