Category Archives: Insurance

Mixed outlook for participating business across Asia

Milliman has released the findings of a study analysing and comparing participating (par) business across seven Asian insurance markets notably Singapore, India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The report collates in-depth information not otherwise available and provides insight from survey results about par business in Asia.

“Par products have been a core insurance offering for many decades in many markets across Asia Pacific and in Singapore, Hong Kong and India they remain a cornerstone of the industry” said Richard Holloway, managing director for Milliman’s South East Asia and India life consulting practice. “However, increased regulatory scrutiny of par business in countries such as Malaysia and the onset of risk based capital solvency regimes in most markets may lead to a gradual decline in the popularity of such products. This report unlocks key considerations for companies offering par products across the region, highlighting differences in performance, investment approach, and governance of par across the seven markets.”

The “Milliman Participating Business in Asia” report includes:

• A regional view of common themes and differences between the seven selected markets
• Detailed country commentary on par business performance, regulatory environments and key challenges
• Results of our survey providing qualitative insights into par business in these countries
• Analysis of the governance frameworks in place and roles of policyholder advocates

To download the report, click here.

Publication of IFRS 17: Insurance contracts

On 18 May 2017 the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published its new International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) on accounting for insurance contracts: IFRS 17. IFRS 17 will apply for accounting periods starting on or after 1 January 2021, but prior year comparative figures will be required.1

The Standard is directed at insurance contracts, rather than insurance entities. So it will apply, for example, to equity-release mortgages written by banks, as well as to those listed insurers required to report under the IFRS and to those insurers that adopt the IFRS voluntarily.

The publication was accompanied by webinars conducted by members of the IASB Staff, including Q&A sessions.2 The responses provided by the staff were caveated as being their own views, and not necessarily those of the IASB. Nevertheless, the answers offer some interesting insights, which are briefly summarised in this blog.

Overview
The aim of the Standard is consistent accounting for all insurance contracts, with increased transparency in financial information reported by insurance companies and calculated information based on current estimates. However, the staff acknowledges that the Standard is not directionally convergent with the aims of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the standard setter for the United States.

In summary, the principle-based Standard requires an assessment of the profitability of insurance contracts when they are first issued and, if positive, recognition of that value (the Contractual Service Margin or CSM) over the lifetime of the contracts in a manner that reflects the timing of the insurance services provided by the insurer.3

The staff expects firms to incur significant implementation costs.

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Paid family leave proposal leaves states with funding issues to consider

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal includes a paid family leave insurance program for workers in the United States. Under the president’s proposal, states would be allowed to design the paid leave program for their own jurisdictions as long as the benefits meet minimum standards. This means that some states may have a lot to consider when preparing for a new insurance program, such as funding methods, administration, and specific benefit design features. The article “Paid family leave in the United States” by Paul Correia offers some perspective.

Captive actuaries are as indispensable as your traffic app

One of the primary rewards from operating a captive is the ability to place more emphasis on the risk management process, in order to stabilize annual budgets, reduce long-term costs, and utilize capital more effectively. To accomplish these goals, captives rely on experienced service providers to manage almost all of their operations.

An actuary is one of these indispensable service providers. Simply put, actuaries can quantify the level of risk, which allows the company to better manage it. And actuaries provide value throughout a captive’s life cycle, from formation to dissolution (if applicable). Risk factors change all the time, so having an actuary review your experience regularly is crucial to avoiding problems.

Speaking of avoiding problems, we all love the functionality of the Waze traffic app, which steers us from one location to another in the most efficient manner possible. At its core, this traffic app helps you figure out what path to take to avoid unexpected delays, thereby reducing stress levels. Anyone who has traveled I-95 in Connecticut knows this value first-hand.

Actuaries essentially function like a Waze app for captives. They largely provide a means to keep captives on the right path by avoiding surprises and reducing potential for management stress.

Initially, actuaries are engaged in feasibility processes to help ensure a company knows what to expect as it sets out on its journey to create a captive. Where necessary, actuaries utilize data from the local environment (the industry) to supplement the company’s own experience. The main deliverable of the feasibility study is a five-year pro forma financial model, which includes a projected income statement and balance sheet of a new captive’s financial business plan. Actuaries provide these projections on both an expected loss outcome basis and an adverse loss scenario basis; this is because it is crucial to understand the potential risks involved, not just what to expect on average. Both the captive business owner and regulator are key stakeholders for whom the feasibility study reduces stress levels right from the outset.

Once the journey begins (the captive is formed), actuaries perform ongoing loss reserving and loss forecasting (budgeting). As the captive’s losses emerge, the actuary has to gauge how much weight to place on an individual insured’s experience versus that of the industry when estimating ultimate losses. This is a delicate balance amidst the “noise” of random variations in losses. In the end, actuaries hold the keys to how fast the captive can travel from a loss recognition standpoint.

Periodically, at least every three years, the actuary should update the pro forma model, adjusting to the conditions of the road map that was created. This provides a continuous means of reasonableness testing of underlying assumptions, including loss ratios, loss development patterns, loss payment (discount) factors, expenses, investment income, taxes, etc.

All of this effort ultimately supports a smooth ride—the issuance of fairly stated financial statements with adequate funding of loss reserves. The actuary’s road map and process needs to be transparent enough to allow another actuary to essentially reproduce the analysis (even though no two actuaries would use all of the same assumptions or necessarily take the same route to the destination). During the process, the captive’s actuary needs to engage in dialogue with the audit firm’s actuary to ensure audit sign-off is secured; this helps to arrive at your final destination from a financial reporting standpoint.

As actuaries, we certainly wish our models could be as straightforward as the Waze traffic app. Even though we face complex questions, our processes and expertise have proven to be successful in navigating the risky terrain of running a captive insurance company. In Connecticut, our tourism branding is “Still Revolutionary.” In today’s ever advancing age of big data and analytics, using actuaries to help captives take calculated risks to justify the potential rewards noted above is still a state-of-the-art approach. And the Hartford, Connecticut area has the highest number of actuaries per capita in the United States. Talk about an opportunity. So you may want to consider the Waze-like advantages of using an actuary to help you navigate a new route to establishing a captive in Connecticut.

This blog post was first published by the Connecticut Captive Insurance Association.

Would a patient compensation system decrease or increase MPL costs?

Over the past several years, legislation introducing a patient compensation system (PCS) has been proposed in several states. Proponents claim a PCS would eliminate the stigma associated with medical professional liability (MPL) claims for healthcare providers. Without the stigma, they believe physicians would not defend themselves as often, resulting in lower legal defense costs than the current tort system produces.

However, some do not agree that the stigma would be less under the PCS system. Additionally, several factors present under current PCS proposals indicate that there will be more reported and indemnified claims, leading to higher MPL costs. In this article, Milliman consultants Susan Forray and Eric Wunder discuss aspects of some states’ PCS proposals that MPL carriers and healthcare providers need to consider.

The future of (individual) reserving

In most cases, the current reserving practice consists of using methods based on claim development triangles for point estimate projections and capital requirement calculations. Taking advantage of the information embedded in individual claims data is a promising alternative to address the need for more accurate models within the reserving practice. This white paper by Milliman’s Laurent Devineau, Fabrice Taillieu, and Alexandre Boumezoued examines the innovative opportunities offered by alternative individual reserving models and the main challenges with their implementation.