Category Archives: Research

Using predictive modelling in assumption setting

Milliman is carrying out a series of policyholder behaviour experience studies using predictive analytics. This blog post discusses the most recent US-based study looking at Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) utilisation, which, along with lapse, is a key driver of variable annuity (VA) business value.

The study was based on a data set containing around 2 million unique VA policies issued between 2003 and 2015 of seven large variable annuity writers based in the US. These policies represent roughly $220 billion of account value (based on initial purchase amounts) and cover a range of GLWB product designs as well as demographic attributes. This provides a rich data set with which to study policyholder behaviour.

A predictive model can be constructed with common variables such as age, tax-qualified status and single/joint status to allow easy implementation. The models constructed for our study use drivers that are readily available in a typical in-force data file, making them suitable for implementation in existing actuarial projection platforms. Including additional explanatory variables or interactions to the assumption formula is a natural step of predictive modelling because many variables can be captured in a single model without double-counting the individual variables’ effects. This framework allows iterative improvements to predictions and better differentiation of policyholder behaviour at a seriatim level.

The 2016 Milliman VALUES™ GLWB Utilisation study examined both when the policyholders chose to begin taking lifetime withdrawals, as well as how efficiently they continued to take them thereafter. We were able to confirm and, more importantly, quantify many intuitive assumptions about these behaviours and what drives them, and discovered new insights as well. For example, less than half of all policyholders currently taking GLWB withdrawals utilise their GLWB benefit with 100% efficiency (i.e., taking precisely the maximum allowed withdrawal amount). This is interesting as we believe many companies price on a basis of 100% efficiency.

Other findings from our report include:

• Previous incidence of taking withdrawals (from their non-guaranteed funds) is a strong leading indicator of earlier GLWB utilisation
• Products with roll-up features tend to encourage later utilisation of GLWB
• Policyholders that utilise a lower proportion of their guarantee tend to be more likely to lapse

Predictive modelling of policyholder behaviour offers a statistically defensible framework for demonstrating assumption effectiveness to internal and external stakeholders. Rating agencies and regulators are placing higher scrutiny on how companies set assumptions around policyholder behaviour. A predictive model built on statistical principles provides sound validation metrics for measuring the effects of explanatory variables and the accuracy of the predictions. A broader application of predictive modelling is predicting variations in behaviour within a block of business under a range of stochastic scenarios to generate a distribution of behaviour outcomes. These types of analyses can be useful for demonstrating capital adequacy and strategic capital allocation.

For more information on the survey, read the 2016 Milliman VALUES™ GLWB Utilisation study . For more information on predictive modelling please contact your Milliman consultant.

20/20 Beyond the Numbers: Retirement in Asia-Pacific

Join Milliman consultants on this webinar as they consider the implications of the recently published “Asia retirement income report.” The webinar will include a 20-minute presentation led by Wade Matterson, practice leader for Milliman’s Australia office, and Richard Holloway, managing director for Milliman’s South East Asia and India Life consulting practice. A 20-minute Q&A session will follow.

Date: Wednesday, 23 August
Time: 11 a.m. India time
12:30 p.m. Thailand/Indonesia time
1:30 p.m. Singapore/Hong Kong/Taiwan/Malaysia time
3:30 p.m. Sydney time

To confirm your participation, RSVP before 16 August. Registered participants will receive a link to the webinar and local/toll-free numbers for most countries in the Asia-Pacific region a few days prior to the webinar.

New business surge leads to double-digit embedded value growth in Asia

Milliman has announced the findings of its study on reported year-end 2016 embedded value (EV) results for 34 major insurance companies operating in Asia, excluding Japan. The report highlights trends among companies reporting EVs and reveals a growth in reported 2016 EV of 15.3% by Asian insurance companies. This was primarily driven by a 40% growth over 2015 in Value of New Business (VNB) across the region in 2016.

The Milliman 2016 Embedded Value Results: Asia (excl. Japan) report analyses and discusses the EV methodologies and assumptions, the impact of regulations, as well as recent developments with the long-awaited IFRS 17 reporting regime.

“The China and Hong Kong markets were the main drivers of the VNB explosion in the region; both having mainland consumers to thank for these results” said Milliman principal and consulting actuary Paul Sinnott. “Although we have some longer term concerns about the sustainability of profit margins in the region, recent yield curve rises are relieving some margin pressure in the short term.”

A few key insights from the Asian report include:

• In 2016, total reported Asian EV grew by 15.3%, on a comparable basis, to USD 339 billion from USD 294 billion.
• While some European multinationals reduced their Asian EV reporting last year, there were three companies disclosing EV results for the first time in India, along with the first comprehensive IEV disclosure associated with ICICI Prudential’s IPO in September 2016.
• Life insurance sales continued to rise strongly in the region during 2016, with gross written premium (GWP) estimated to have increased by 28%, with China’s 43% growth being a major contributor.
• VIF increased for all markets. South Korea recorded the largest VIF growth of 31%, mainly from margin-driven growth in VNB across all companies; Hong Kong also posted strong VIF growth of 20%, driven by large volumes of business sold to mainland Chinese visitors.

To download the report, click here.

Milliman analysis shows uncertain future for embedded value reporting in European insurance market

Milliman has announced the availability of a new report detailing embedded value (EV) results for 19 major insurance companies in Europe. The report examines trends among the companies reporting EVs as of year-end 2016, comparing practices adopted and discussing reporting issues following the implementation of Solvency II in Europe and the move toward the global adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

“The future of embedded value reporting in Europe remains uncertain—although there has been increased alignment between EV and Solvency II reporting, we have continued to witness a gradual reduction in the number of firms reporting on an EV basis,” said Philip Simpson, a principal and consulting actuary in Milliman’s London office. “And with Solvency II disclosures via the SFCR lacking information around new business or analysis of change, for example, there is potentially a void appearing in the level of granularity of financial information reported.”

The release of the final IFRS 17 standard in May 2017 could signal an alternative reference point for Market Consistent Embedded Value (MCEV). And with substantial disclosure requirements involved, this may allow a sufficient amount of information to be obtained about the profitability of the business. However, the preparation of accounts under IFRS 17 gives rise to a different interpretation and timing of profit and loss compared with an EV basis, which will need to be considered. Ultimately time will tell whether companies use Solvency II or IFRS 17 as the reference point for MCEV.

Key insights from the European report include:

• There has been an ongoing, though moderate, reduction in firms reporting on an embedded value basis in 2016 compared with 2015.
• An amendment to the European Insurance CFO Forum Market Consistent Embedded Value Principles© (the MCEV Principles) was issued in May 2016, which permits the use of the projection methods and assumptions for market-consistent solvency regimes (e.g., Solvency II) in EV reporting. In light of this, during 2016 companies continued to change their approaches, with a continued trend to align EV and Solvency II reporting.
• The CFO Forum members (that disclosed their embedded values at the end of 2016) reported a combined embedded value of GBP 263 billion (EUR 308 billion) at the end of 2016 compared with GBP 246 billion (EUR 288 billion) at the end of 2015. Experience amongst the companies studied was mixed, with around half of companies experiencing an increase in embedded value compared with 2015.
• Overall, results for new business were fairly positive for the majority of companies in the report. The total value of new business (VNB) written by the current CFO Forum members (that disclosed their values of new business at the end of 2016) was GBP 11.3 billion (EUR 13.3 billion) in 2016, compared like-for-like with GBP 10.1 billion (EUR 11.9 billion) in 2015.

To download the report, click here.

Lapses in concentration

A range of factors interact to influence lapse behaviour as it relates to long-term insurance. Yet this is not typically taken into account directly when setting assumptions. This report by Neil Cantle and Jennifer Smith sets out the methodology and results of Milliman’s research investigation into the use of advanced systems mining techniques to determine how lapse experience for long-term insurance business might change according to the prevailing dynamics within the business and because of uncontrollable external factors.

Annual Milliman survey reveals a staged approach in implementing recent regulatory changes for UL/IUL products

Results from participants in Milliman’s annual comprehensive study of universal life (UL) and indexed universal life (IUL) issues indicate a staggered approach in implementing recent regulatory changes. Principle-based reserves (PBR) may be implemented as early as January 1, 2017, and 27 survey participants reported they expect to implement PBR for all of their UL/IUL products spread over the three-year phase-in period allowed. Resource issues, time needed, financial impact/cost/benefits, clarification and finalization of PBR and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, and PBR implementation of other products first were cited as factors impacting the rationale for implementation plans.

Similarly, the earliest effective date for the use of the 2017 Commissioner’s Standard Ordinary (CSO) mortality table was January 1, 2017. The 2017 CSO is the new valuation mortality table to be used in the determination of the Commissioner’s Reserve Valuation Method (CRVM), net premium reserves, tax reserves, nonforfeiture values, etc. Twenty-two survey participants reported that they would implement this table for all of their UL/IUL products spread over the three-year phase-in period allowed. Ten participants reported implementation of the 2017 CSO would be product-dependent; implementation will be immediate for some products and over the three-year phase-in period for others.

“It’s not surprising that these regulatory changes are not being implemented immediately, given the complexity of the regulations, the potential impact on pricing and the bottom line, and the strain on resources, especially for smaller carriers,” says Sue Saip, consultant in Milliman’s Chicago office.

The 10th annual Milliman study, “Universal Life and Indexed Universal Life Issues,” focuses on current topics relative to universal life with secondary guarantees (ULSG), cash accumulation UL, current assumption UL, and the corresponding indexed UL (IUL) versions. Thirty-two carriers of universal life and indexed universal life products participated in this annual survey.

In addition to PBR and the 2017 CSO information, the survey also indicates that the use of new underwriting approaches is gradually gaining popularity. Scoring models are being used by 11 survey participants to underwrite their UL/IUL policies. Eight of the 11 use these models for fully underwritten policies, one uses them for simplified issue policies, and the final two use them for both fully underwritten and simplified issue business. Eight participants reported using scoring models with automated rules. The types of scoring models used include lab scoring models, credit scoring models, and scoring models relative to motor vehicle records. The survey also revealed that 10 of the 32 participants utilize fluid-less underwriting programs at face amounts where they previously would require fluids.

The study includes detailed information on product and actuarial issues, such as sales, profit measures, target surplus, reserves, risk management, underwriting, product design, compensation, pricing, and illustrations.

The “Universal Life and Indexed Universal Life Issues – Detailed Report” is available for purchase here or by calling Gina Ritchie at (312) 499-5605.