The impact of Covid-19 in South Africa in terms of excess deaths was substantial, when considering the reported excess deaths as published by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Please note that in this article we will not further consider whether all excess deaths can be directly attributed to Covid-19, however, as per the article “Correlation of Excess Natural Deaths with Other Measures of the Covid-19 Pandemic in South Africa,” it is estimated that 85 percent to 95 percent of excess natural deaths are attributable to Covid-19.
Based on the SAMRC excess deaths, taking the expected plus excess deaths as Actual and expected natural deaths as per their methodology as Expected, we observe an Actual versus Expected (AvE) ratio of 116 percent in 2020, a ratio of 131 percent in 2021, and a ratio of 113 percent in 2022 up to May 1. When we look at the AvE for each wave, we can see that the 2nd wave (predominantly Beta variant) and the 3rd wave (predominantly Delta variant), had the most severe impact on the general population (see figure 2 and figure 3)
The current design of the SII risk margin is too interest-rate sensitive and too high, particularly in the current low-interest rate environment. We believe reform, and an overall reduction, in the risk margin is desirable and can be done whilst keeping an appropriate balance between policyholder protection and cost.
The Matching Adjustment (MA) is vitally important to UK insurers, UK pension schemes and individuals. Without it, annuity prices would increase, and it would simply not be affordable for many pension schemes to buy-out with an insurance company. The IFoA fully supports the continued inclusion of the MA; the MA has successfully helped reduced procyclical investment behaviour, such as during the stressed conditions in early 2020. However, we believe that the MA framework needs to incorporate more pragmatic flexibility, without a lowering of regulatory standards.
We favour incentivisation of ‘green’ investment rather than overly penal disincentives for ‘brown’ asset classes, noting that sectors considered ‘brown’ must also be part of the solution to the challenges of climate change.
Author(s): Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
Publication Date: 19 February 2021
Publication Site: Institute and Faculty of Actuaries