The concept of equivalence under Solvency II determines to what extent (re)insurance entities outside Europe can operate within the European Union (EU) while relying solely on their local solvency standards. The ability to operate in the EU is a significant issue that impacts multinational (re)insurance companies and groups.
Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
Toyota Motor Corporation expects to lose 80,000 units of production after shutting down nearly all of its assembly plants in Japan as a result of the Kumamoto Earthquake. The shutdowns occurred after disruption to two of its suppliers, Aisin Seiki, which produces automotive components and Renesas Electronics, a manufacturer of automotive microchips (1). Aisin Seiki said production at two plants that make engine and auto parts, semiconductors and other components have been stopped since April 14. Renesas’s plant was also shut down (2).
The catastrophe modeling firm RMS estimated the economic loss for property risks to be between USD2.5 billion and USD3.5 billion (1). This estimate includes only residential, commercial, and industrial property and contents. Catastrophe modeling firm AIR estimated the insured loss to be between USD1.7 billion and USD2.9 billion for property risks (2). Both catastrophe modeling firms’ estimates exclude infrastructure, business interruption and contingent business interruption.
Earthquake Coverage in Japan, Part II: Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Earthquake Fire Expense Insurance
The other source of residential earthquake insurance is through a limited number of cooperative insurers. As opposed to residential earthquake insurance under the government’s program, cooperative earthquake insurance is entirely run and managed by each individual cooperative insurer that writes the class, with no governmental support. The original policy terms tend to be somewhat similar in basic design to those of the government’s program backed policies, but reinsurance arrangements are entirely at the discretion of the individual cooperatives. Almost all the cooperatives writing this class purchase non-proportional reinsurance from the international reinsurance market and, in certain cases, also access the capital markets for protection via catastrophe bond issuance.
Japan is known for its earthquake potential; and like many other earthquake-prone countries, the government participates in insuring earthquake risk. For houses and residential buildings there are two major sources of earthquake insurance. One is via commercial non-life insurance companies with support from the government and the other is via cooperative insurers. For all buildings and man-made structures other than houses and residential buildings, earthquake insurance is available from commercial non-life insurance companies, albeit on a strictly controlled basis.
The Ryukyu Trench is situated southeast of Kyushu where the Philippine Sea plate begins its subduction beneath Japan. While earthquakes have occurred several hundred kilometers northwest of the Ryukyu Trench, most earthquakes are at significant depths along this subduction zone. Thirteen magnitude 5-plus earthquakes have occurred at shallow depths of less than 50 kilometers (31.1 miles) within 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) of the Kumamoto earthquake over the past century, according to the USGS. In addition to the two events in April, a shallow magnitude 6.6 earthquake occurred in 2005 off the north coast of Kyushu. Two other events occurred in 1975 that were of magnitude 5.8 and 6.1 at distances of 40 kilometers (24.9 miles) and 65 kilometers (40.4 miles) to the northwest. The graphic below from the USGS illustrates the depth of the Ryukyu Trench at 20 kilometer (12.4 miles) increments in orange. The depth of the trench beneath Kumamoto city is roughly 140 plus kilometers (87.0 miles).
Current capital requirements in the United States are set at a legal-entity level. Yet there are currently no global requirements for companies that operate in more than one country, and calculation formulas for capital requirements typically vary in each jurisdiction. Solvency II is the closest to mandating a group standard. Solvency II uses the concept of “equivalence” to deal with differing capital regimes between the European Union and the rest of the world including the United States, instead of forcing Solvency II standards on a third country.
Asia Pacific is a diverse mix of countries encompassing nearly one-third of the earth’s landmass and more than one half of its population. Given the broad spectrum of economic and regulatory sophistication across the region, the approach to insurance regulation has varied on a country-by-country basis as each regime adapts solvency principles to their own needs and political realities.
Guy Carpenter today published an assessment of the development of solvency requirements and regulatory initiatives that are impacting (re)insurers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. According to the report, these developments are driven by four key motivators, including the need to improve resiliency post-catastrophic loss; to increase oversight in a post-Great Recession world; to follow best practices from the banking and international insurance sectors; and finally, to satisfy domestic political pressures.