Regulatory Capital Adequacy for Life Insurance Companies

Link: https://www.soa.org/4a194f/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2023/erm-191-reg-capital-with-final-visuals.pdf

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The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of capital and key related terms, as well as to compare and contrast four key regulatory capital regimes. Not only is each regime’s methodology explained with key terms defined and formulas provided, but illustrative applications of each approach are provided via an example with a baseline scenario. Comparison among these capital regimes is also provided using this same model with two alternative scenarios.

The four regulatory required capital approaches discussed in this paper are National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Risk-Based Capital (RBC; the United States), Life Insurer Capital Adequacy Test (LICAT; Canada), Solvency II (European Union), and the Bermuda Insurance Solvency (BIS) Framework which describes the Bermuda Solvency Capital Requirement (BSCR). These terms may be used interchangeably. These standards apply to a large portion of the global life insurance market and were chosen to give the reader a better understanding of how required capital varies by jurisdiction, and the impact of the measurement method on life insurance company capital.

All of these approaches are similar in that they identify key risks for which capital should be held (e.g., asset default and market risks, insurance risks, etc.). However, they differ in significant ways too, including their defined risk taxonomy and risk diversification / aggregation methodologies, as well as required minimum capital thresholds and corresponding implications. Another key difference is that the US’s RBC methodology is largely factor-based, while the other methodologies are model-based approaches. For the model-based approaches, Solvency II and BIS allow for the use of internal models when certain conditions are satisfied. Another difference is that the RBC methodology is largely derived using book values, while the others use economic-based measurements.

As mentioned above, this paper provides a model that calculates the capital requirements for each jurisdiction. The model is used to compare regulatory solvency capital using identical portfolios for both assets and liabilities. For simplicity, we have assumed that all liabilities originated in the same jurisdiction as the calculation. As the objective of the model is to illustrate required capital calculation methodology differences, a number of modeling simplifications were employed and detailed later in the paper. The model considers two products – term insurance and payout annuities, approximately equally weighted in terms of reserves. The assets consist of two non-callable bonds of differing durations, mortgages, real estate, and equities. Two alternative scenarios have been considered, one where the company invests in riskier assets than assumed in the base case and one where the liability mix is more heavily weighted to annuities as compared to the base case.

Author(s): Ben Leiser, FSA, MAAA; Janine Bender, ASA, MAAA; Brian Kaul

Publication Date: July 2023

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Unhealthy Longevity in the United States

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2023/unhealthy-longevity-us/

PDF: https://www.soa.org/4a525c/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2023/unhealthy-longevity-us.pdf

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The SOA Research Institute’s Mortality and Longevity Strategic Research Program is pleased to make available a research report that quantifies differences in mortality and disease prevalence by health status. Additionally, period life tables by health status, sex, and age are available in Appendix D.

Author(s):

Natalia S. Gavrilova, Ph.D.
Leonid A. Gavrilov, Ph.D.

NORC at the University of Chicago

Publication Date: August 2023

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

You Might Live Longer Than You Think. Your Finances Might Not.

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-finances-and-how-many-of-us-get-our-money-needs-wrong-51a660a2?st=latmuov31yafzz9&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

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Demographers and actuaries make the following distinction between life expectancy and longevity: Life expectancy refers to the average number of years someone will live from a given age, whereas longevity refers to how long he or she might live if everything goes well, typically expressed as the probability of living beyond a certain age such as 85, 90 or even 100.

A growing body of evidence shows that many people are ignorant of their so-called longevity risk—the probability of living a very long time—and the complications that presents. 

….

Drs. Hurwitz and Mitchell note that retirement calculators provide information about average life expectancy, but not longevity. They have found that about five times as many Census Bureau publications relate to life expectancy as longevity. Thus, people who have planned appropriately for their life expectancy might miss how likely they are to live longer. 

….

People can look up their longevity risk with an online Longevity Illustrator maintained by the American Academy of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries, based off the latest mortality data from the Social Security Administration. 

Author(s): Josh Zumbrun

Publication Date: 10 Feb 2023

Publication Site: WSJ

2022 Mortality Improvement Survey Report

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2022/mort-improve-survey/

Report PDF: https://www.soa.org/4ad811/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2022/mort-improve-survey.pdf

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The Committee on Life Insurance Mortality and Underwriting Surveys of the Society of Actuaries sent
companies a survey in May of 2019 on mortality improvement practices as of year-end 2018. The survey
results were released in January 2022. The survey was completed by respondents prior to the onset of
COVID-19. The present report provides an opportunity to update the results for pandemic-based changes
and compare the before and after surveys.
The 2022 survey was opened in March 2022 and closed by the end of April. Thirty-five respondent
companies participated in this survey, with 29 from the U.S. and six from Canada. This group was further
divided between direct writers (26) and reinsurers (nine).
This survey focused on the use of mortality improvement and how it has changed for financial projection
and pricing modeling following the initial stages of COVID-19. Details regarding assumptions and opinions
on mortality improvement in general were asked of the respondents.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners discussions on mortality improvement factors due to
COVID-19 for reserving purposes have taken place, but this survey was conducted before any adjustments
reacting to them.
Seventy-four percent (26 of 35) of respondents indicated using durational mortality improvement
assumptions in their life and annuity pricing and/or financial projections. Moreover, of those that used
durational mortality improvement assumptions, attained age and gender were the top two characteristics
in which assumptions varied.
Respondents were asked to indicate the different limitations when applying durational mortality
improvement assumptions. The Survey found that the most common lowest and highest attained age to
which durational mortality improvement was applied were 0 and about 100, respectively. The lowest and
highest durational mortality improvement rate ranged from -1.50% (deterioration) to 2.80%
(improvement). The time period in which the mortality improvement rates were applied ranged from 10 to
120 years, but this varied between life (10/120) and annuities (30/120). The most common time period was
20 to 30 years for life; less consensus was seen for annuities. Analysis is provided in Appendix C for
instances when highlights are shared in the body of the report.

Author(s): Ronora Stryker, Max Rudolph

Publication Date: December 2022

Publication Site: SOA Research Institute

Impact of COVID-19 on Defined Benefit Pension Plan Funding

Link: https://www.theactuarymagazine.org/impact-of-covid-19-on-defined-benefit-pension-plan-funding/

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Higher interest rates already have translated into higher discount rates for solvency and accounting valuations, which means good news (lower liabilities) for DB pension plans. The sensitivity of a pension plan’s liabilities to the discount rate used to determine their value depends on the demographics of the plan members, the type of valuation and level of discount rates being used. Generally, the “duration” for most pension plan liabilities (defined here as the percentage decrease in liabilities for a 1% increase in discount rates) will range from 10 to 25.

In the United States, the average accounting funded ratio increased from 94.6% in July 2021 to 104.5% in July 2022, according to the Milliman 100 Pension Funding Index, despite significant decreases in plan assets during that time. This is because the average accounting discount rate (typically based on long-term, high-quality bond yields) increased from 2.59% to 4.25% during that same period, driving down accounting liabilities at a faster pace than asset losses. Figure 1 demonstrates this effect in more detail.

Author(s): John Melinte

Publication Date: November 2022

Publication Site: The Actuary at SOA

2021 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2021/retirement-risk-survey/

Full report: https://www.soa.org/48fd8a/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2021/risks-retirement-findings.pdf

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CHAPTER HIGHLIGHTS:
• Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, level of concern about various risks remains historically low this year for both pre-retirees and retirees. Compared to 2019, level of concern dropped on some issues for retirees. As a result of this drop, retiree concerns are lower than those of pre-retirees by a larger gap than ever before.
• The one exception to this trend was concern about fraud. In 2021, both retirees and pre-retirees were
more concerned about fraud, and it is the highest concern among retirees, particularly Black/African
American retirees. As in prior studies, those with lower income tend to show much higher levels of
concern.
• The biggest concerns for pre-retirees are their savings and investments not keeping up with inflation, not being able to afford long-term care, not being able to afford health care costs, not being able to maintain a reasonable standard of living throughout retirement, and potentially depleting all their savings.
• While half of pre-retirees plan to retire gradually rather than all at once, retiree respondents indicate this
seldom actually happens. Higher-income pre-retirees are more likely to plan to go straight from full time
employment to retirement.
• The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected plans that pre-retirees have for work, living arrangements, and
lifestyle in retirement, although over a quarter report changing their lifestyle.
• Despite the financial challenges that retirement poses, most do not have financial advisors, especially preretirees, lower-income respondents, and Black/African American respondents.

Author(s): Greenwald Research

Publication Date: February 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Old Age Mortality Experience Study Report

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/experience-studies/2022/old-age-mortality/

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The Society of Actuaries (SOA) Research Institute released a report that examines older age mortality (OAM) with a focus on attained ages 70 and above. The report helps determine whether refinements were needed in the 2015 Valuation Basic Tables. Analysis was performed by sex, issue age and attained age, issue year cohorts, smoking risk classification, benefit band, select vs ultimate period, and interactions.

Author(s):

Old Age Mortality Subgroup of the Individual Life Experience Committee

Publication Date: October 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Decentralized Insurance Alternatives: Market Landscape, Opportunities and Challenges

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2022/decentralized-ins-alt/

Report: https://www.soa.org/4a6cf6/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2022/decentralized-ins-alt.pdf

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The DeFi ecosystem has been expanding rapidly in the past few years, growing from less than USD $1 billion in 2020 to USD $61.6 billion as of June 2022 as measured by Total Value Locked (TVL), the amount of crypto asset deposited in the DeFi protocols.

With continuous innovation in product design and delivery, the potential of DeFi adoption is massive. However, the rise of DeFi is marred by security issues. Nearly 200 blockchain hacking incidents have taken place in 2021 with approximately USD $7 billion in stolen funds (Cointelegraph, 2021). These hacking events have a wide range of causes including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Smart contract vulnerabilities exploited by hackers to steal funds
  • Manipulation of oracles to cause price feed deviation
  • Attack on governance where a small group of individuals took over the protocol’s governance decisionmaking mechanism

Author(s):

Alvin Kwock
OneDegree

Erik Lie, FSA, CERA
Hailstone Labs

Gwen Weng, FSA, CERA, FCIA
Hailstone Labs

Rex Zhang, ASA
OneDegree

Publication Date: Sept 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

A Risk Classification Framework for Decentralized Finance Protocols

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2022/decentralized-finance-protocols/

Report: https://www.soa.org/4a61da/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2022/decentralized-finance-protocols.pdf

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Decentralized finance (DeFi) is an emerging and rapidly growing financial ecosystem with the defining feature that it is powered by blockchain technology. The focus of this paper is on risks for DeFi protocols that could lead to economic losses that could be insurable. This framework was designed around the risks associated with the existing and emerging DeFi protocols.

Author(s):

Tara Chang
OneDegree

Joe Ho
Hailstone Labs

Zachary Tirrell, FSA, FIAA

Gwen Weng, FSA, CERA, FCIA
Hailstone Labs

Jo You
OneDegree

Publication Date: October 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

SOA Diversity Report

Link: https://www.soa.org/4a79dc/globalassets/assets/files/static-pages/about/diversity-inclusion/summer-2022-diversity-report.pdf

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The Society of Actuaries (SOA) leadership and staff work closely with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) to support the journey to increase diversity in membership and in the actuarial profession, as part of the SOA’s Long-Term Growth Strategy.

We strive for transparency and accountability in our DEI efforts and are committed to sharing our demographic data and long-term goals to support our pledge and responsibility. We have collected member voluntary demographic data since 2015. With this data, we present an infographic for the pathway from aspiring actuaries to members with ASA or FSA designations.

Author(s): Society of Actuaries

Publication Date: Summer 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Variations On Approximation – An Exploration in Calculation

Link: https://www.soa.org/news-and-publications/newsletters/compact/2014/january/com-2014-iss50/variations-on-approximation–an-exploration-in-calculation/

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Before we get into the different approaches, why should you care about knowing multiple ways to calculate a distribution when we have a perfectly good symbolic formula that tells us the probability exactly?

As we shall soon see, having that formula gives us the illusion that we have the “exact” answer. We actually have to calculate the elements within. If you try calculating the binomial coefficients up front, you will notice they get very large, just as those powers of q get very small. In a system using floating point arithmetic, as Excel does, we may run into trouble with either underflow or overflow. Obviously, I picked a situation that would create just such troubles, by picking a somewhat large number of people and a somewhat low probability of death.

I am making no assumptions as to the specific use of the full distribution being made. It may be that one is attempting to calculate Value at Risk or Conditional Tail Expectation values. It may be that one is constructing stress scenarios. Most of the places where the following approximations fail are areas that are not necessarily of concern to actuaries, in general. In the following I will look at how each approximation behaves, and why one might choose that approach compared to others.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: January 2014

Publication Site: CompAct, SOA

Introduction to Credit Risk Exposure of Life Insurers

Link: https://www.soa.org/sections/joint-risk-mgmt/joint-risk-mgmt-newsletter/2022/september/rm-2022-09-fritz/

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Under the old regime, the impairment was the incurred credit losses, in determining which only past events and current conditions are used. Credit losses were booked after a credit event had taken place, thus the name “incurred.” ECL and CECL require the incorporation of forward-looking information in addition to the past/current info in the calculation of impairment. There will be an allowance for credit losses since initial recognition regardless of the creditworthiness of the investment asset. The allowance can be perceived as the reserve or capital for credit risks. In practice, the allowance could be zero if there are no expected default losses for the instrument, US Treasury bonds, US Agency MBS, just to name a few.

ECL under IFRS 9 is typically calculated as a probability weighted estimate of the present value of cash shortfalls over the expected life of the financial instrument. It Is an unbiased best estimate with all cash shortfalls taking into consideration the collaterals or other credit enhancement. Four typical parameters underlying its calculation are: Probability of default (PD), loss given default (LGD, i.e., 1-Recovery Rate), exposure at default (EAD) and discounting factor (DF). Prepayments, usage given default (UGD) and other parameters can also play a role in the calculations. In the general approach the loss allowance for a financial instrument is 12-month ECL regardless of credit risk at the reporting date, unless there has been a significant increase in credit risk since initial recognition: The PD is only considered for the next 12 months while the cash shortfalls are predicted over the full lifetime; as the creditworthiness deteriorates significantly, the loss allowance is increased to full lifetime ECL in Stage 2, which should always precede stage 3 (credit impairment). Even without change of stages, any credit condition changes should be flowing into the credit loss allowance via updates in some of the underlying parameters. Exhibit 1 has an illustrative comparison between ECL, CECL, and incurred loss model.

CECL is similar to ECL except FASBs doesn’t have so-called staging as IFRS 9, which requires that only 12-month ECL is calculated in stage 1 (in the general model). In other words, CECL requires a full lifetime ECL from Day 1. There are also other differences: IFRS 9 requires certain consideration of time value of money, multiple scenarios, etc., in measurement of ECL while US GAAP CECL doesn’t.

Under US GAAP, different from CECL, currently the impairment for AFS assets, while also recorded as an allowance (with a couple exceptions), is only needed for those whose fair value is less than the amortized cost. Once it is triggered, the credit losses are then measured as the excess of the amortized cost basis over the probability weighted estimate of the present value of cash flows expected to be collected. Only the fair value change related to credit is considered in the calculation of AFS impairment. The quantitative calculation behind the probability weighted best estimate is like CECL/ECL. Both can use discounted cash flow methods with parameters such as PD although one is calculating expected cash shortfalls directly in CECL and the other is calculating the expected collectible cash payments and then is used to back out the impairment.

Author(s): Jing Fritz

Publication Date: September 2022

Publication Site: Risk Management newsletter, SOA