Members of the insurance industry tend to be more interested in aging research than the average individual. A great deal of money rests on accurate actuarial projections, and this is an age in which certainty in medical progress hard to come by. Biotechnology is moving very rapidly, which means game-changing advances in extending human life may or may not emerge depending on happenstance, politics, and accidents of fundraising. A great leap in applied longevity science lies somewhere ahead, the time until it arrives dependent on how fast the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence can become a dominant research paradigm.
Insurers are at the mercy of this great and coming storm, and the larger entities that get it wrong - by failing to prepare well or by betting against very large increases in life expectancy - will lose billions. So insurance conferences sometimes see appearances by biogerontologists, industry publications contain articles on the future of medical science, and actuaries spend a great deal of time and effort on evaluating research progress. In past years, I've seen a fair amount of interesting commentary from these sources.
Alas, just as some of the regular press puts forward ignorant opposition to longevity research and the prospect of therapies for aging, so too does some fraction of insurance industry publications. Leonid Gavrilov recently pointed the Gerontology Research Group list to one such from last month, in which the author seems offended by the idea that people would want to use biotechnology to live longer in good health. This is a PDF format magazine from RGA, with the article in question starting on page 9:
The engineering solutions that [Aubrey de Grey suggests as a part of the SENS vision] require futuristic technology and even tinkering with the human genome - for example, moving mitochondrial DNA into the cell nucleus to give it the greater protection afforded by the nucleus against mutations.
These approaches ignore the morality and ethics of trying to extend human life by manipulating our cell biology. They also ignore the effects of natural selection. Although nature is not perfect, it is often the case that certain mechanisms such as cell senescence protect us from other diseases such as cancer, because if cells are allowed to survive forever they accumulate errors of duplication and mutations that sometime allow them to reproduce rapidly in an uncontrolled fashion.
I think that we should instead focus on nurturing the health of mothers and young children, thereby maximising the store of redundancy that we are endowed with rather than attempting to fix things at the end of life. So, I do not think that we will live forever and I think that we should be very wary of well-meaning attempts to fix something that may not be broken.
Which begs the question of what the author thinks modern medicine actually is, if it is not the manipulation of our cell biology so as to extend life. In what way does that description not cover near every form of drug or presently mainstream research aimed at treating fatal medical conditions? Medicine is exactly the quest to remain alive and comfortable in the face of natural adversity, and is conducted by changing the human condition, the surrounding environment, and yes, the body itself. I am sometimes given to believe that there is something about aging and longevity that clouds the mind and stops people from thinking clearly, in that what they say could quite easily be turned into objections to all modern medicine - and yet they are enthusiastically in favor of modern medicine. Just not for old people.
It's somewhere between incredible, disturbing, and morally bankrupt. Worse is that you get used to seeing it over and again, the ease with which people advocate allowing widespread suffering and half a billion painful, horrible deaths every decade to continue unchanged, just because those who are dying now are old. Are we civilized? I wonder. Seems a mighty thin veneer some days.
As to the rest of it, well, I'm sure you've seen the like. The standard objections, some faulty science thrown around to raise bogus risks, and the somewhat insulting assumption that these and an exhaustive list of other possible challenges have not already been thought about, debated, published in many papers and position statements, and otherwise worked on over the past decades.