Mid-Year 2022 Capital Markets Update

Link: https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-reports-mid-year-2022-update.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The shape of the Treasury yield curve generally provides insight into the market’s expectations for
interest rates, as well as economic activity. As of June, the yield curve has shifted higher and flattened
compared to the beginning of the year and the last year. The Federal Reserve’s recent aggressive actions
have resulted in the higher Treasury rates and a flattening of the yield curve, as many investors believe
higher rates will push the U.S. economy into a recession. The yield curve also inverted briefly in midJune, which market participants view as a recession signal.

As of year-end 2021, U.S. insurers had exposure to about $316.3 billion in U.S. government bonds across
various maturities, or about 6% of total cash and invested assets. This was an increase from $280.6
billion at year-end 2020, but it was unchanged as a percentage of total cash and invested assets.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson and Michele Wong

Publication Date: 23 June 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Report

Big Data, Big Discussions

Link: https://theactuarymagazine.org/big-data-big-discussions/

Excerpt:

Why is the insurance industry now facing increased scrutiny on certain underwriting methods?

Insurers increasingly are turning to nontraditional data sets, sources and scores. The methods used to obtain traditional data—that were at one time costly and time-consuming—can now be done quickly and cheaply.

As insurers continue to innovate their underwriting techniques, increased scrutiny should be expected. It is not unreasonable for consumer advocates to push for increased transparency and explainability when insurers employ these advanced methods.

What is the latest regulatory activity on this topic in the various states and at the NAIC?

Activity in the states has been minimal. In 2021, Colorado became the first (and so far, only) state to enact legislation requiring insurers to test their algorithms for bias. Legislation nearly identical to the Colorado law was introduced in Oklahoma and Rhode Island in 2022, and it is likely other states will consider similar legislation. Connecticut is finalizing guidance that would require insurers to attest that their use of data is nondiscriminatory. Other states have targeted specific factors, but most have adopted a wait-and-see approach.

The NAIC created a new high-level committee to focus on innovation and AI, but it has become clear that a national standard is not likely at this time.

Author(s): INTERVIEW BY STEPHEN ABROKWAH, Interview with Neil Sprackling, president of Swiss Re Life & Health America Inc.

Publication Date: March 2022

Publication Site: The Actuary

NAIC Rejects Need for Federal Help With Private Equity-Owned Life Insurers

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2022/06/02/naic-rejects-need-for-federal-help-with-private-equity-owned-life-insurers/

Excerpt:

State regulators are not seeking help from Washington with monitoring those private equity firm owners, the officers of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners wrote in a public letter sent to Brown earlier this week.

Brown is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

The NAIC officers told Brown that U.S. life insurers have been writing complicated products and using large, complicated investment strategies for some time.

“Our system has experience at assessing and understanding this dynamic through market highs and lows,” the regulators said. “State insurance regulators are fully capable of assessing and managing the risks of these insurers, and there is nothing PE firms add to the playing field that changes this fact.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 2 June 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Equity Markets Plunge Near Bear Market Territory

Link: https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-hot-spot-equity-markets-may2022.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

On May 19, the S&P 500 opened the day near bear market territory; i.e., at a 20% drop from a recent
high. On May 18, the S&P 500 experienced a 4% decline—the largest single-day decrease since June 2020. The last time the S&P 500 entered bear market territory was in March 2020, albeit short-lived, as
the market turned around and headed into a two-year rally that peaked in early January 2022.


The current equity market losses (and some corporate bond losses) are primarily the result of several
factors: 1) earnings reports from large American retailers, including Walmart and Target, show evidence
that the continued high inflation rate may be affecting consumer demand; 2) the war in Ukraine has
added to inflationary pressures, prompting the Federal Reserve (Fed) to increase interest rates and
reduce bond holdings; and 3) recent COVID-19 shutdowns in China have led to a slowdown in the
world’s second largest economy.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson and Michele Wong

Publication Date: 19 May 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Report

U.S. Insurer Exposure to Russia, Ukraine, and Oil/Gas Companies Declines from 2020 to 2021

Link: https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-reports-Russia-Ukraine-Oil-Gas-YE2021.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Total Russian and Ukraine sovereign and corporate debt was $813.3 million at year-end 2021,
representing 97% of total exposure; the remainder comprised $28.8 million in stocks (see Table 2).
While life companies accounted for the majority of the bond exposure at $683.9 million (or 84% of total
Russia and Ukraine bonds), property/casualty (P/C) companies accounted for almost all the Russia and
Ukraine stock exposure at $28 million. About 90% of U.S. insurers’ exposure to Russia and Ukraine
bonds and stocks was held by large companies, or those with more than $10 billion assets under
management.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson, Michele Wong, Jean-Baptiste Carelus

Publication Date: 14 Apr 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Reports

2021 Academy Legislative/Regulatory Review

Link: https://www.actuary.org/sites/default/files/members/alerts/pdf/2022/2022-CP-1.pdf

Excerpt:

The American Academy of Actuaries presents this summary of select significant regulatory and
legislative developments in 2021 at the state, federal, and international levels of interest to the U.S.
actuarial profession as a service to its members.

Introduction

The Academy focused on key policy debates in 2021 regarding pensions and retirement, health, life,
and property and casualty insurance, and risk management and financial reporting.


Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing ever-changing cyber risk concerns, and analyzing
the implications and actuarial impacts of data science modeling continued to be a focus in 2021.


Practice councils monitored and responded to numerous legislative developments at the state, federal,
and international level. The Academy also increased its focus on the varied impacts of climate risk and
public policy initiatives related to racial equity and unfair discrimination in 2021.


The Academy continues to track the progress of legislative and regulatory developments on actuarially
relevant issues that have carried over into the 2022 calendar year.

Publication Date: 15 Feb 2022

Publication Site: American Academy of Actuaries

New York May Develop Life Policy Disclosure Rules

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2022/01/24/new-york-may-develop-life-policy-disclosure-rules/

Excerpt:

An NAIC committee formed the Life Insurance Illustrations Working Group in 2016.

The working group chair report said states should become the laboratories for disclosure standards.

The committee disbanded the working group and put the disclosure standards effort back in the hands of the states.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 24 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Growth in Private Ratings Among U.S. Insurer Bond Investments and
Credit Rating Differences

Link:https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-reports-PLR-Rating-Differences.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The number of privately rated securities reported by U.S. insurance companies totaled 5,580 at
year-end 2021, an increase from 4,231 in 2020 and 2,850 in 2019.
• Small credit rating providers (CRPs) to the NAIC, such as Egan-Jones, DBRS Morningstar, and the
Kroll Bond Rating Agency LLC (KBRA), produced a dominant share of the private letter ratings
(PLRs), accounting for almost 83% of U.S. insurers’ privately rated securities as of Dec. 31, 2021.
• Designations based on PLRs averaged 2.375 notches higher than designations assigned by the
NAIC Securities Valuation Office (SVO) according to data from 2019 through Q3 2021.
• Based on the credit rating analysis conducted by the SVO, the use of PLRs can result in lower
risk-based capital (RBC) charges and potentially lead to the undercapitalization of insurance
companies.
• Regulatory oversight of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) does not
result in uniform ratings across the NAIC’s CRPs.
• Ten U.S. insurer groups accounted for 55% of the industry’s exposure to privately rated
securities at year-end 2020.
• No significant issuer concentrations of privately rated securities were noted.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson, Michele Wong, and Linda Phelps

Publication Date:21 Jan 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Bureau

U.S. Insurance Industry Outsourcing to Unaffiliated Investment Managers
Unchanged From 2019 to 2020

Link:https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-reports-IM-Outsourcing-YE2020.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The percentage of U.S. insurers that reported outsourcing investment management to an
unaffiliated firm has remained relatively unchanged at year-end 2020, compared to the last
several years; it was about half of all U.S. insurers, dating back to at least 2016.
Consistent with prior years, small insurers, or those with less than $250 million in assets under
management (AUM), accounted for the largest percentage, or 63% of the total number of U.S.
insurers, that outsourced investment management.
Property/casualty (P/C) companies continue to account for almost 60% of the total number of
U.S. insurers that outsource to unaffiliated investment managers.
For U.S. insurers that named the unaffiliated investment management firms that they utilize,
BlackRock, Conning, and New England Asset Management Inc. (NEAM) have been the top three
most-named investment managers over the last few years.

Author(s): Jennifer Johnson and Jean-Baptiste Carelus

Publication Date: 18 Jan 2022

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Special Bureau

NAIC launches review of private equity-owned insurer issues

Link:https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2021/12/naic-launches-review-of-private-equity-owned-insurer-issues/

Excerpt:

On December 7, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Financial Stability Task Force voted in a virtual meeting to expose, for a 30-day comment period, a list of “Regulatory Considerations Applicable (But Not Exclusive) to Private Equity (PE) Owned Insurers.” The Task Force assigned to its Macroprudential Working Group the role of coordinator of the ongoing evaluation of these considerations.

The decision is the latest public expression of increasing concern among regulators about the recent growth in number and complexity of private equity-owned insurers.

The current exposure has some antecedents in NAIC-directed efforts that began two years ago.  In November 2019, the Statutory Accounting Working Group began an effort to change the Statement of Statutory Accounting Principles (SSAP) No. 25, which provides accounting rules on insurer transactions with related parties and affiliates.

Author(s): Scott Fischer

Publication Date: 9 Dec 2021

Publication Site: DLA Piper

Year-End 2021 Capital Markets Wrap-Up

Link:https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/capital-markets-special-report-YE%202021%20wrap%20up.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The U.S. economy has made a solid recovery as COVID-19 vaccinations were made increasingly
available, social distancing began to ease, and businesses gradually reopened.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other forecasters, expects the U.S. economy to
grow by about 6% in 2021, after contracting about 3.4% in 2020.
• Inflation reached a 39-year high of 6.8% in November following a strong rebound from the COVID19-induced recession.
• The ‘stronger for longer’ inflation rates prompted the Federal Reserve to accelerate the tapering
of its asset purchases and to suggest the likelihood of three rate hikes in 2022.
• The 10-year U.S. government bond yield has generally ranged between 1.3% and 1.7% in 2021,
increasing from less than 1% in 2020, due in part to fiscal stimulus aiding in economic recovery.
• Credit spreads have been muted in 2021 given robust global economic growth, favorable funding
conditions, and overall solid corporate performance despite higher costs and supply disruptions.
• Global stocks have achieved relatively high returns; in the U.S., the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500
posted seven record closing highs in November alone.
• The price of oil reached a seven-year high of $85 per barrel in 2021 as demand for oil normalized
while the global supply market tightened.

Author(s): : Jennifer Johnson and Michele Wong

Publication Date: 22 Dec 2021

Publication Site: NAIC Capital Markets Bureau Special Reports