Eric Paire, Head of Strategic Advisory EMEA, Guy Carpenter, presented the sixth part of the Holistic Balance Sheet Management series describing the “multi-layer” approach that Guy Carpenter and Mercer will adopt when working exclusively with insurance clients to holistically manage capital and strengthen balance sheets. The approach includes an extensive evaluation of the investment and reinsurance portfolios to understand client needs, an assessment of the rationale for freeing-up and/or moving capital and a consideration of modeling aspects such as the Solvency II standard formula, internal models or rating agency models.
Posts Tagged ‘Models’
In the second video in the Holistic Balance Sheet Management series, Andrew Cox, Capital Optimization, Guy Carpenter and Niall Clifford, Financial Strategy Group, Mercer, explore how companies should approach investment risk and the link between investment strategy, risk appetite and reinsurance strategy. A key focus for insurance companies should be to link their investment strategy with their risk appetite metrics. While any increase in return on capital may seem very attractive, it is important that companies ensure that the risks they are taking are in line with their risk appetite and that they are aware of their constraints, allowing them to take risks in a measured way. Investment strategy should be considered alongside regulatory requirements, as a key aspect of Solvency II relates to how well each company understands the risks in its portfolio.
Guy Carpenter reports reinsurance pricing fell at the January 1, 2015 renewals in many segments, affecting almost all lines of business and geographies, continuing recent renewal trends.
Incorporating reserve value added (RVA) into reinsurance decision making for long-tail lines is a step in the right direction. However, it is not the full story, as the decision is still typically made in the context of a single accident year and usually for a single line of business in isolation. The cycle correlations clearly show that this is sub-optimal. We are encouraging our clients a step further along the sophistication and hence simplicity/complexity spectrum.
So what can be done to mitigate such cyclical effects? The first steps are to acknowledge them and to try to quantify their impact. The latter is more of a challenge than the former. Most internal capital models are not truly multiyear and arguably fail to adequately capture both the correlation between lines of business and in particular across accident years. Cycle (and recognition pattern) scenario testing is a good way to achieve this. This provides a neat and practical way to correlate between years and lines of business.
Casualty catastrophe occurrences have become increasingly common over the past decade. The recent 2008 financial catastrophe is the easiest to cite, due to its sheer size and the fact that it continues to unfold even today. But, there have been many others. The collapse of the “dotcom economy” led to scandals around initial public offering laddering and equity analyst conflicts of interest. Accounting firms were not alone in suffering financial loss related to such debacles as Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Adelphia. While insured losses did not reach those of property catastrophes, economic damages were profound. Enron’s loss of USD66 billion in market capitalization alone - not including the economic damage caused to other companies - was more than double that of Hurricane Ike (approximately USD30 billion). The financial catastrophe is estimated to have caused economic damage of above USD1 trillion, with more likely to follow. When considered in the context of the Deepwater Horizon industrial accident, the casualty catastrophe that unraveled from the largest US offshore energy event over the past 40 years was by no means remote. Beyond the initial property loss of the actual drilling rig, liability risk in paying claims continues to extend and ripple throughout the supply chain involved as well as the environmental impact to numerous coastal and commercial businesses. Asbestos litigation, perhaps the longest casualty catastrophe on record, has paid out over USD70 billion and by some accounts may be entering its third wave. Therefore, asbestos is an emerging crystalizing risk that needs to be continuously monitored, measured and modeled for those who continue to be exposed to it.
Casualty (or liability based) catastrophes have become increasingly frequent and severe over the past decade, exposing (re)insurers to much more risk than they may have realized and reserved for. One root cause can trigger a chain reaction that can bleed balance sheets and even imperil solvency. Until recently, casualty carriers had little choice but to accept this risk as losses emerged.