We review the history of life insurance in Bermuda, reflect on how we have gotten to where we are today, and look forward to what may be ahead. We present a hypothetical—yet realistic—case study to illustrate some of the factors that can lead to a strategic decision do business Bermuda. From an embedded-value perspective, we highlight potentially considerable benefits from a move from a U.S. statutory basis to a Bermudian economic balance sheet.
Author(s): Tony Dardis, William C. Hines, and Su Meng Lee
In a year filled with gloomy news of economic hardships and the ongoing pandemic, there’s a bright spot: the funded ratio of the 100 largest U.S. public pensions is up by more than 15 percent this year, according to Milliman’s annual analysis.
“Surging market returns have propelled pension assets far beyond previous levels, driving the estimated funding deficit below $1 trillion for the first time since 2012,” the report says. “We estimate that nearly half of the plans in the study stood above 90 percent funded as of June 30.”
Only 13 public pension plans were above 90 percent funded based on Milliman’s 2020 analysis.
In 2021, public pensions have continued their strong recovery from a year prior, with the funded status of the Milliman 100 plans increasing to 79.0% as of March 31, up from 78.6% at the end of December 2020 and 66.0% in Q1 2020. The Q1 2021 funded ratio is the highest recorded in the history of Milliman’s Public Pension Funding Study.
“While 2021 has proven to be a strong year for public pensions so far, there are still lingering questions around the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these plans,” said Becky Sielman, author of Milliman’s Public Pension Funding Study. “The past year has seen workforce volatility and strain on state budgets which could put downward pressure on funding in the future.”
Like utilization for non-Covid-related physical health care, utilization of mental health services dropped significantly when COVID-19 took hold in the United States in early 2020. However, in evaluating those dips, the use of care involving mental health conditions fell less than other kinds of care.
People with a mental health diagnosis were less willing to forego care during COVID-19’s peak. When restrictions began to be lifted in June 2020, visits to primary care offices by those with a mental health diagnosis actually rose above 2019 levels.
With the exception of Medicare beneficiaries, when remote health care utilization was factored into individuals’ overall behavioral health care utilization numbers, there were primarily year-over-year increases across all insured populations. Mental health care utilization increased among the Medicaid population between 2019 and 2020, and only decreased by 1% in March and May among the commercially insured population.
Overall, the survey results show that COVID-19 has had an impact on emerging LTC insurance experience through higher mortality (for both active and disabled lives) and lower claim incidence. Results on voluntary lapse rates were mixed; however, premium grace period extensions due to COVID-19 may have contributed to differences in reporting. The survey results also indicated that, in many cases, the impact of COVID-19 has not yet been studied or there is not yet data available. This was especially true in relation to studying COVID-19’s impact across various characteristics (gender, attained age, marital status, situs).
For questions studying the impact of COVID-19 on specific assumptions, the effect was measured on a multiplicative basis compared to the expectation without COVID-19, except for voluntary lapse, which was measured on an additive basis. See examples in the full survey questions in Appendix A for additional detail.
Authors: Mike Bergerson, FSA, MAAA, Principal and Consulting Actuary Andrew Dalton, FSA, MAAA, Principal and Consulting Actuary Robert Eaton, FSA, MAAA, Principal and Consulting Actuary James Stoltzfus, FSA, MAAA, Principal and Consulting Actuary
Milliman, Inc., a premier global consulting and actuarial firm, today released the latest results of its latest Pension Funding Index (PFI), which analyzes the 100 largest U.S. corporate pension plans.
In February, corporate pension funding improved by $67 billion thanks to a 26-basis-point increase in the monthly discount rate, from January’s 2.62% to 2.88% as of February 28. As a result, the funded status deficit dropped to $133 billion at month’s end. Meanwhile, the market value of assets dropped by $2 billion for the month, the result of a meager 0.13% investment gain. Overall the funded ratio for the Milliman PFI plans climbed from 89.7% at the end of January to 92.9% as of February 28, the fifth straight month of improved funding for these plans.
Robust investment returns helped boost the aggregate funded percentage of all US multiemployer pension plans to 88% at the end of 2020, from 85% a year earlier—the highest since before the global financial crisis at the end of 2007—according to consulting and actuarial firm Milliman.
The strong performance came despite a turbulent year of market volatility due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The volatility caused those same plans’ funded ratio to plunge to 72% during the first quarter of the year, which was the largest quarterly drop in funded percentage since 2007. That was followed by a rebound to 82% in the second quarter, which was the largest quarterly increase in funded percentage since 2007.
The funded ratio of the 100 largest corporate defined benefit (DB) pension plans improved to 89.8% at the end of January from 88.1% at the end of December as their aggregate deficit fell below $200 billion for the first time in more than a year, according to consulting firm Milliman.
With the help of a 16 basis point (bp) increase in the monthly discount rate to 2.62% from 2.46%, the plans’ funding improved by $39 billion in January as their aggregate deficit declined to $196 billion from $235 billion due to liability gains incurred during the month.