Tag Archives: Central Bank of Ireland

RSR feedback from Central Bank of Ireland

This blog is part of the Pillar 3 Reporting series. For more blogs in this series click here.

The Central Bank of IreIand (CBI) recently completed a review of 2016 Regular Supervisory Reports (RSRs) and has now written to companies with its feedback. To recap, the RSR is a private report submitted to the supervisor, and the Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR) is the publicly disclosed equivalent of this report.

The CBI’s review focussed on the following:

• Confirming that each of the headings and subheadings required by the regulations were addressed in the reports
• Assessing the completeness and quality of responses under each of the main headings
• Checking that the details provided were in line with the CBI’s understanding of the firm

The letter sent to each company detailing the supervisor’s feedback can be found at the CBI’s website here. A key point highlighted is the requirement that the RSR be forward-looking, focussing on the business planning horizon. Companies should include detailed analyses of the risks facing their businesses over this period.

Companies should bear this feedback in mind when preparing their next RSRs, where possible.

RSR reporting frequency
Under Solvency II regulations, companies must prepare a full RSR at least every three years. However, the frequency of the RSR is at the discretion of the local supervisor, which can request more frequent reporting. Based on this review, the CBI is happy that a three-year cycle is appropriate. However, it will look to spread reporting across the three-year period by requesting some companies to report an RSR in 2018 and some in 2019. Therefore the CBI has outlined in the letter when it expects firms to submit their next RSRs.

For companies not required to submit a full RSR in a given year, they should instead provide summaries of material changes. The summary must detail any material changes that have occurred over the reporting period relating to topics covered in the RSR and provide a concise explanation about the causes and effects of such changes.

Central Bank shines a light on anomalies in Solvency II Pillar 3 reporting

This blog is part of the Pillar 3 Reporting series. For more blogs in this series click here.

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) held an industry workshop on 21 November aimed at practitioners who prepare the Quantitative Reporting Templates (QRTs) and, to a less extent, the Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR). Despite the wet and wintry conditions, the session was very well attended and there was plenty of engagement from industry attendees. The CBI expressed concern regarding the level of errors in the Solvency II submissions, calling into question the processes, review and governance in place in (re)insurance companies.

This blog post outlines some of the highlights from the workshop:

• There has been a surprisingly high rate of resubmissions of quarterly and annual QRTs to date. For Q1 2016, it was as high as 70%. There is now a consistent resubmission rate at approximately 30%.

• The CBI pointed out that it commits significant resources to identifying and querying errors each quarter. In turn companies also spend time and effort remediating these issues. They see this as an unanticipated cost for both themselves and the industry.

• The most common errors relate to missing data on the list of assets template (S.06.02) and confusion around country classification for premiums, claims and expenses (templates S.04.01, S.05.01 and S.05.02).

• The CBI believes it has taken a pragmatic approach to QRT errors for the first 18 months of reporting, working with companies to remediate errors. However, it was clear that it would consider taking a harder line from next year onwards.

• The CBI specifically pointed to the Directors’ Accuracy Certificate, which relates to annual reporting only. In cases of persistent reporting errors by a company, the CBI intends to contact signing directors and may ask them to outline the governance and review processes in place.

• The CBI is carrying out some on-site inspections in relation to Solvency II reporting processes, with a particular focus on governance and review of submissions.

• In addition to the automatic cross-checks on the CBI’s Online Reporting System, it also outlined some of the additional quality assurance checks it carries out on receipt of QRTs. In order to assist companies in this regard, the CBI has prepared a spreadsheet with a list of these checks. It expects companies to build in these checks to their own processes before submitting templates.

• The CBI has also added an SFCR repository to its website. This contains the SFCR reports of insurance companies that are regulated by the CBI and is a useful resource for the industry. The CBI’s SFCR repository can be found here.

As such, a clear message has been sent to the industry regarding Pillar 3 reporting. The challenge will be in automating processes, streamlining review and tightening up the governance in this area.

I include links to both the slides from the industry workshop and the additional quality assurance checks spreadsheet.

Milliman STAR Solutions® – VEGA® is an automated Pillar 3 reporting and standard formula aggregation system. One of the key features of VEGA is inbuilt XBRL functionality and validations, ensuring the QRTs meet the CBI’s requirements before uploading to the Online Reporting System.

Central Bank feedback on AOTPs and ARTPs

The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has published its findings following a thematic review of Actuarial Opinions on Technical Provisions (AOTPs) and Actuarial Reports on Technical Provisions (ARTPs) in respect of year-end 2016. This feedback is very timely as many Heads of Actuarial Functions (HoAFs) enter the year-end 2017 process and prepare to present these reports for the second time since the Solvency II regime came into force.

The quick read: Highlights

The CBI clarified that HoAFs can add comments to the AOTPs template on:

• Reliance on others in the calculation of Technical Provisions (TPs)
• Material concerns, limitations and recommended improvements

Our industry experience indicates that many HoAFs did not list recommendations in the AOTPs for last year-end, as the wording from the CBI implied that recommendations could only be included if the AOTPs was qualified first.

The CBI also called for improvements in the documentation of methods used to assess the completeness, accuracy and appropriateness of data used. Improvements in reporting methodologies, assumptions and experience analysis were more areas of focus, and the CBI also called for more detail to be provided around simplifications, expert judgements and materiality.

Background

By way of a recap—the CBI published the ‘Domestic Actuarial Regime and Related Governance Requirements under Solvency II‘ in 2015 and these requirements became effective on 1 January 2016. Companies must appoint HoAFs and each HoAF must, amongst other things, deliver the AOTPs to the CBI on an annual basis and a more detailed ARTP to the board on an annual basis (which is also made available to the CBI on request). The format of the AOTPs is provided as an appendix to the published requirements.

During 2017 the CBI reviewed a sample of ARTPs and AOTPs and has since issued specific recommendations to a number of companies and HoAFs. The CBI has also issued some general findings which have been published on the CBI’s website here.

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Aggregate statistical data published for the Irish insurance industry

On 18 August the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) published consolidated insurance statistics based on firms’ year-end 2016 positions. This is the first such publication since the introduction of Solvency II and this format will be used for publications in each future year as part of efforts to harmonise disclosure across Europe. This publication replaces the ‘Central Bank Insurance Statistics’ produced in previous years (based on the returns submitted to the CBI under the old solvency regime), more commonly known as the ‘Blue Book.’

Industry balance sheet
The statistics are at an aggregate level only, covering 196 companies based in Ireland (a mix of life and non-life firms, both direct writers and reinsurers) with assets valued at almost €347 billion. It is interesting to note that, while two new authorisations were granted during 2016, 15 authorisations were withdrawn.

The total Own Funds of the Irish industry are just in excess of €39.0 billion. They cover a Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) of almost €22.7 billion. The resulting solvency cover for the industry is 172%. In comparison the European industry as a whole had coverage of 210% at the end of June 2016.

Of the SCR of €22.7 billion almost two-thirds is calculated using the standard formula. Nine companies use full internal models and another three use partial internal models to calculate the SCR, with these 12 firms accounting for 36% of the total SCR at an industry level. In addition to the calculated SCR, one firm has had a capital add-on imposed by the CBI, totalling almost €94 million at year-end 2016. The CBI does not disclose the name of the company with the capital add-on in this publication.

Applications to the CBI
The statistics also outline various approvals granted by the CBI during 2016. Of the three firms which applied to use the volatility adjustment, only two received approval, adding to the total number of seven firms using the volatility adjustment at year-end 2016. Only one firm submitted an internal model application during the year, which appears to have been unsuccessful. This could suggest that some firms were inadequately prepared when submitting applications to the CBI.

As at year-end 2016 no firms were using the matching adjustment and only one firm was applying the transitional measure on risk-free interest rates. No further submissions for these measures were received during 2016. This could indicate that the long-term guarantee measures are not considered to be very attractive to Irish companies—either in terms of the effort involved in obtaining approval or the benefit gained.

Aggregate data
While the data contains a number of interesting figures, it is the absence of company-specific data that is most noteworthy. The Blue Book previously outlined assets, liabilities and premium volumes at a company level. The new format report does not include any premium data and only provides statistics at an industry level. Of course all this information is publicly available in individual companies’ Solvency and Financial Condition Reports, but requires some time to analyse.

Full details of the year-end 2016 statistics published by the CBI can be found here. Additional Milliman analysis of the year-end 2016 position of the Irish industry can also be found here.

Central Bank of Ireland review of Solvency II life insurance pricing and reserving assumptions

In February 2017, the Central Bank of Ireland published letters on its website relating to its review of the consistency of Solvency II life insurance pricing and reserving assumptions. This briefing note by Milliman’s Aisling Barrett and Sinéad Clarke summarises the contents of these letters. The authors also reference the contents of the December 2016 industry letter on the standard formula Solvency Capital Requirement.

Solvency II Directors’ Certifications

The Central Bank of Ireland has published a guideline and a set of frequently asked questions for insurance and reinsurance undertakings on Solvency II Directors’ Certifications. In this briefing note, Milliman’s Aisling Barrett and Ciarain Kelly explain what certifications are required from directors of insurance and reinsurance undertakings under Solvency II and how Milliman can help give comfort to directors in preparing to sign these declarations.