ACTUARIAL POST FOR THE MODERN ACTUARY SEPTEMBER 2020
COVID-19 AND LIFE INSURERS
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Dynamic Global Business
IN-HOUSE CORPORATE PENSION ACTUARY Part-Qualified / Qualified
Major reinsurance broking and advisory firm has a fantastic role for a client-facing, qualified non-life actuary to support a range of diverse workstreams, including pricing, analytics and reinsurance structuring.
Work closely with the CFOs within this leading Group to ensure the regulatory capital requirements are fulfilled. Knowledge of international regulatory regimes is essential, ideally including SII, SST and BSCR.
A unique opportunity for a pensions actuary with corporate experience. In this key role, you will provide technical direction and support the assessment of pension strategy and risk for the Group.
ACTUARIAL RESERVING AND CAPITAL LEAD
Part-Qualified / Qualified NON-LIFE LONDON / EUROPE
Specialist Insurer STAR6283
An exciting reserving and capital role with a niche client. Make your mark in developing the firm’s capabilities by bringing a strong background in these areas with exposure to UK motor insurance lines.
Leading-Edge Client STAR6303
Star Actuarial has a newly-created strategic role with a London-based insurer, looking for a qualified life pricing actuary with an affinity to challenging the status quo. A solid foundation of knowledge in protection products is essential.
In this key role, you will provide actuarial support to an international healthcare team in the development and maintenance of technical pricing models for the business in all territories.
SENIOR REPORTING ACTUARY
HEAD OF MOTOR PRICING
LIFE FLEXIBLE / WORK-FROM-HOME
NON-LIFE HEALTH LONDON / SPAIN
IV US CL
IV US CL
PRICING EXPERT (PT OR FT)
NON-LIFE LONDON / NATIONWIDE
Use your commercial awareness and technical strengths in this visible and strategic pricing role. Candidates seeking part-time hours or other agile working arrangments will be considered.
Utilise your excellent influencing skills, and your knowledge of Solvency II and actuarial techniques (e.g. reserving, capital modelling, economic valuation calculations), to assist in the coordination of regulatory reporting.
An exclusive opportunity, with a key Star Actuarial client, for an experienced pricing leader to join an established insurer as they launch a brand new motor business, looking to disrupt the market with a unique proposition.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PIONEER
SENIOR ACTUARY - LIFE & RISK
Part-Qualified / Qualified
Market Leader STAR6282
LIFE NORTH WEST
An ideal opportunity for an innovative and collaborative actuary, who enjoys the strategic aspects of product development, to use their keen market knowledge to build and retain competitive advantage.
Take up this excellent role managing current products and developing them for the future. You will oversee the rate change process, analyse product performance and have experience in driving commercial results.
A fantastic opportunity for an experienced Life Actuary with a risk specialism to take the lead on performing proportionate risk-based assessments and oversight (e.g. Solvency II reviews and Part VII transfers).
HEAD OF ACTUARIAL
INVESTMENT - CLIENT STRATEGY
NORDIC NON-LIFE CONSULTANCY
HEALTH NON-LIFE SOUTH EAST
Our client has a fantastic opportunity for a qualified actuary from a health or non-life background to take responsibility for individual and corporate pricing for health insurance and related services.
CFA / Qualified
Global Investment Specialist
A fantastic role, building upon your pension scheme investment strategy experience, using your knowledge of multiple asset markets, and your first-rate communication, people and technical skills.
Part-Qualified / Qualified
Does an actuarial career in the Nordics appeal to you? This is an amazing opportunity for a non-life actuary to join an early-stage consultancy business as they forge a path in this market.
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EDITOR’S NOTE As all children head back to school and a new way of attending we also look forward to the start of a new parliamentary term and the Autumn budget and possible changes that may occur within the pension industry with one news story hinting that a smoothing of triple lock may heal a rift between the Chancellor and the Prime Minister, we shall see. In this month’s magazine Wilis Towers Watson’s Richard Marshall examines the next steps that life insurers may need pos-Covid19 and Neill Slane from LexisNexis looks at the changing face of home insurance claims. Our regular authors continue to regard us with their insights including the lessons learnt from the intriguing pensions case of HMRC v Mrs Staveley. Alex Bertolotti from PwC examines the return to the workplace of employees and the role of insurance companies in this process. Tom Murray examines intelligent algorithms suggesting they are powerful but not perfect. The other news is that despite the pandemic we will be launching the Actuarial Post Awards 2020 on Friday 25th September 2020, sponsored by Aon and Bolton Associates.
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So if you are returning to the workplace or continuing in the workplace at home I trust you enjoy this month’s edition of our magazine. Once again we look forward to welcoming you back next month.
Movers & Shakers
Covid-19 and Life Insurers
Taitâ€™s Modern Pension
Solvency II & Beyond
Lockdown leaves offices empty
Lights, Camera, Actuary
NEWS SEPTEMBER Pensions and understanding and preventing scams The Pensions Scams Industry Group (PSIG), which was established in 2014 to help protect pension scheme members from scams, today welcomed The Police Foundation pension fraud report ‘Pensions: Understanding and preventing scams’, issued today. Margaret Snowdon OBE, Chair of PSIG, commented:
“As we all know the issue of pensions scamming is not going away, if anything it is on the rise as more and more questionable individuals have recognised the extreme vulnerability of pension scheme members. This has only increased during Covid when finances for some have become even more strained. When the Police
Foundation approached us ahead of this project we were very happy to work in partnership with them to develop the industry survey and to inform the findings of the report. “There are certain elements of the report that are particularly welcome as they support and highlight what we have been saying for some time at PSIG. In READ MORE
Smoothing triple lock could end Boris and Rishi conflict
Women need to mind the pension gap
There are reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are in conflict over whether or not to break from the state pension triple lock as a means of helping put the nation’s finances back on track. The state pension triple lock increases state pensions every April by the highest of price inflation, earnings growth or 2.5%.
With men anticipating that they will have an annual retirement income of £19,748 and women suggesting their income will be £14,833 in later life, new analysis from the Cebr commissioned by equity release lender more2life suggests that when life expectancy is taken into account the basic ‘gender pensions gap’ could be as much as £108,130.
Boris is said to be against any change as the triple lock was a pre-election Manifesto commitment. On the other hand, Rishi is believed to have concerns that the furlough READ MORE
This rises to £186,120 for women who are married or in a relationship with men anticipating that they will receive £8,460 more annually than their partners in retirement. YOUNGER RETIREES SEE SIMILAR DISPARITIES IN INCOME
This gender income gap is also clear among younger couples in retirement. On average, men aged 54-64 expect to receive (or currently receive) a gross income of £5,964 higher than their female partner when they stop working. Single men also expect higher retirement incomes with those over the age of 55 receiving around £3,750 more a year than single women of the same age. READ MORE
NEWS Insolvency forecasts 27 percent climb in business failures Insolvencies in the UK are forecast to jump by 27% this year, slightly higher than the global average rise of 26%, reveals a new economic research report by top trade credit insurer Atradius. The latest Atradius Insolvency Report analyses the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the knock-on effect on insolvencies. Every major economy, except for China, is expected to enter recession this year with global GDP forecast to contract by 4.5%, making this recession more acute in magnitude than the Great Recession of 2009. The UK is expected to see the largest GDP contraction in Northern Europe following a stringent lockdown and high Brexit uncertainty. Atradius economists... READ MORE
Insurers must do more to support Covid mental health issues
Prolonged working from home can have an increasing strain on an employeeâ€™s mental health, as the loneliness of working remotely can lead to depression. Insurers need to do more to provide greater assistance to an ongoing issue that was already prevalent in the UK before the COVID-19 outbreak, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. According to a poll conducted by GlobalData in 2020, 27% of respondents want to return to the office full-time, 46% would prefer a mix of home and office working, while the remaining 27% would like to permanently work from home. Despite 73% of office workers indicating
a desire to return to the office, it is expected that a number of them will continue to work remotely for the rest of the year. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 12.8 million UK working days were lost in 2019 because of work-related stress, anxiety and depression. While the HSE has continued to raise the issue of remote-working staffâ€™s mental health during the pandemic, insurers are penalizing policyholders for flagging any related issues. Consumer campaign group Fairer Finance has found that insurers such as Budget,Virgin Money, Beagle Street and Canada Life are actually increasing the cost of premiums for consumers READ MORE
COVID19 will see insurers adapt polices as risks change COVID-19 has forced many people to work from home. In many ways, this has reduced some risks - for example fewer people will be a victim of theft or burglary, and household damage such as burst pipes and leaking appliances will be reduced, which can hold the highest cost to home insurers. However, the transition to working from home has led to concerns in other areas such as physical and mental health, which were not originally covered in household policies. As everyday risks change, insurers will have to adapt their policies accordingly, says GlobalData. According to a poll by GlobalData, 27% of respondents want to work from home permanently READ MORE
MOVERS & SHAKERS The latest moves and appointments from the actuarial marketplace Barnett Waddingham appoints experienced COO Barnett Waddingham, the UK’s largest independent provider of actuarial, administration and consultancy services, has appointed David Stoddard as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO) from today, 1 September 2020. The role was previously held by Jane Galvin, Partner who is retiring later this year after more than 10 years with the firm. David will lead operational implementation at Barnett Waddingham as well as focusing on transformation projects within the non-client facing business areas. He will be a driving force behind evolving Barnett Waddingham’s culture of innovation and robust execution, helping to shape the strategy for the firm and making sure the implementation of all non-client business area plans add value to clients and the business as a whole. He will work closely with Senior Partner, Andrew Vaughan and Managing Partner, Marcus Whitehead READ MORE
Barnett Waddingham appoint senior investment consultant
RPMI Railpen XPS announce appoints Paul Armitage as Pensions Actuary new Head for NPT Martin Hunter Paul Armitage has become the new Head of XPS’ National Pension Trust (NPT). Paul was formerly Head of Distribution at NPT and he takes over from Dave Hodges who retired earlier this year.
RPMI Railpen (Railpen), which manages £30 billion of assets on behalf of the railway pension schemes, has appointed Martin Hunter as a Pensions Policy Actuary. Martin will report to Warwick Mason, Pensions Policy Director. Martin joins Railpen from XPS Pensions Group, the listed pensions consultancy, where he has worked for the past 16 years after graduating from Oxford University. He qualified as an actuary in 2008. Martin has focused on corporate and transaction advisory work involving defined benefit pension schemes and, as a Partner at XPS, built up a client base READ MORE
Barnett Waddingham has launched a new business stream for non-liability driven asset pools to be headed by Michel Meert, Principal. Michel’s key role is to lead, develop and grow the
Paul Armitage said “Master trusts have a critical role to play in the DC landscape. It’s a really exciting time to take on this role and to build on our excellent growth story; one that we are achieving by offering market leading member engagement, an excellent investment track record and low levels of member charge. This, combined with full access to retirement freedoms within the trust allows us to take members to and through retirement, with high levels of security at the same time as delivering excellent value for money READ MORE
client base of family offices, endowments and foundations for Barnett Waddingham. His advisory work for clients will focus on investment governance, strategy and asset allocation, private markets and
ESG plus impact investing. During his 30 years’ in the investment and financial services industry Michel has built up significant experience in investment governance, asset READ MORE
CITY DEALINGS Keeping up to date on acquisitions, mergers and the dealings of companies in the city
Rothesay Life completes bulk annuity deal with Littlewoods Rothesay Life is pleased to announce that it has insured just under £930m of deferred and pensioner liabilities in the Littlewoods Pensions Scheme through a bulk annuity transaction, which was completed in July 2020. This buy-in builds on the de-risking of the Scheme, following a £880m pensioner buy-in completed with Scottish Widows in 2018. The Scheme had already benefited from a de-risked funding position on the back of the 2018 buy-in, having previously been an early mover to hedge its interest rate and inflation exposures. It was therefore in an ideal position to
Colin Thwaite, Chairman of the Trustees of the Littlewoods Pensions Scheme, said: “I am delighted that, through this transaction with Rothesay Life, we have further secured the pension benefits for all our members. Guaranteeing our pension obligations has been our long-term goal and it is a testament to the quality of our advisers and the longstanding support and collaboration with The Very Group and its shareholders that we could secure this transaction”
Family Building Society moves Scheme to TPTs DB Master Trust L AND G ANNOUNCE BUY IN TRANSACTION WITH HITACHI READ MORE
TPT Retirement Solutions, a leading consolidator of Defined Benefit pension schemes, today announces the successful transfer of the Family Building Society’s DB scheme to its DB Complete Master Trust arrangement. The Society’s £30m scheme will bring 250 members to TPT Retirement Solutions, 66 of whom are currently active in a cash balance section. As the UK’s largest single office building society, with origins dating back to 1896, the Society has assets of £2.3bn. The move is another example of the increasing momentum towards DB... READ MORE
AXA Partners extends long term partnership with Coverwise AXA Partners UK & Ireland has extended its partnership with travel insurer, Coverwise. The global insurance provider has entered into a new long-term contract with Coverwise following a successful relationship in Germany and Italy from 2011, before the two companies joined their UK operations in 2016. Through a collaborative partnership, AXA Partners is working closely with Coverwise, one of the largest travel insurance providers in the UK, to develop a product suite for customers that meets their needs while maintaining affordability. READ MORE
COVID-19 AND LIFE INSURERS: PLAYING THE WAITING GAME IS NOT AN OPTION
by Richard Marshall, Director, Willis Towers Watson As the initial operational shocks of COVID-19 are starting to subside, UK life insurers are tackling the question of how other aspects of their business (strategy, sales, reserving and capital management, financial disclosures) should be adjusted to take account of the present and potential future effects of COVID-19. Why take action now? There are risks to inaction. Some (re)insurers may play a waiting game, hoping to see what the effects of COVID-19 are in the longer-term. For pricing new business, whether protection or annuity business (in particular), this fails to counter the risks posed by COVID-19: data distortion, potential future waves of infection and behavioural changes amongst policyholders. Also, existing best-estimate assumption-setting processes may be unreliable due to a new year of
unrepresentative data, changes in the demographic profile of new customers and lapses, uncertainty about improvements in mortality linked to economic performance, additional waves of COVID-19 and delayed impacts of the lockdown. For insurers there is a further risk of an asymmetry of knowledge with reinsurers, who are likely to have invested more time understanding the impacts of COVID-19. Finally, regulators and auditors may expect insurers to show consideration of the effects of COVID-19 on their business in their assessment of capital adequacy, in their business planning and in their assessment of the adequacy of their premiums. There are also opportunities to gain a competitive advantage. In the bulk annuity market, a detailed understanding of COVID-19 deaths and the potential for select effects and other mortality impacts may make the difference between being
able to win on a competitive price and losing out on a tender. There are also opportunities for product innovation for multi-line writers too, covering risks such as the risk of being furloughed or made redundant due to a future wave of COVID-19.
Many insurers have been considering ORSA scenarios to assess the impact of additional waves of COVID-19 on existing business plans. Such work can also help to optimise business planning for a postCOVID-19 world.
Pricing and underwriting
Alongside demographic effects, insurers will need to consider asset-side shocks and further changes to new business volumes. Consistency between the mortality effects and the other shocks will be important if these scenarios are to demonstrate awareness to the regulator of the whole range of risks posed by different possible ‘second wave’ outcomes.
Both the base mortality and mortality improvements assumptions used for pricing will likely need to be updated to allow for the effects of COVID-19. Companies will need to: • Remove the effect of COVID-19 from recent deaths in their experience analysis; we have developed an approach to doing this (even when the number of actual COVID-19 and related excess deaths is not known exactly) and can tailor this to the A/E analyses used by life insurers to estimate mortality rates as proportions of standard tables. • Have an evolving view of possible excess mortality in the second half of 2020, and also into 2021 (e.g. due to second or subsequent waves) to allow an agile response to new information (vaccine/ treatment progress, policy change and levels of adherence to social distancing). • Develop a view of how non-COVID-19 mortality improvements may be accelerated or dampened by a range of economic, physiological and behavioural factors. Moreover, they will need a view as to how rapidly (or otherwise) excess mortality from COVID-19 deaths will decline, allowing for a perhaps unusual shape to mortality improvements not normally achievable through use of the CMI model alone. In research recently undertaken for the life industry on the effects of COVID-19 in the UK, we looked at potential ‘second wave’ scenarios and considered the potential effects of some of these factors on future improvements. Detailed analysis of the possible risks from considering a range of scenarios can make it easier for the relevant technical committee and/or the board to approve the base mortality and improvement assumptions for use in pricing in the aftermath of COVID-19. It changes an unknown level of uncertainty into something which can be described and measured. And since insurers will wish to update their persistency assumptions, the same future COVID-19 scenarios will also be able to inform this decision. ORSA development
Capital modelling The pandemic has highlighted a key weakness of the Solvency II standard formula mortality catastrophe allowance – its age-, gender- and region-agnostic strength. Internal model companies may have seen this component of their model as unimportant and been satisfied with a similar flat stress, but may now wish to investigate more granular stresses. Dependency assumptions will no doubt be in the spotlight too: COVID-19 has brought about material shocks to equity values, credit spreads and interest rates, and may have triggered operational risk events. Many companies will have surmised so far that their capital ‘by risk’ has been adequate, but the dependencies have not, and these dependency assumptions should be revisited in light of recent experience. Companies also need to beware of adjusting too much to allow for the precise nature of the coronavirus shock: the key is to use these lessons to prepare better for the next shock, which is unlikely to be identical to what we have just seen. Financial disclosures Finally, there will be considerable interest from investors in the response of (re)insurers to the changes and challenges brought about by COVID-19. Companies will therefore need to consider the messages they present to the investor community about the present and future effects of COVID-19 on their business, and their preparedness for further waves of the pandemic. Through analyst presentations or financial reports, they will need to address likely investor concerns around the effect of COVID-19 on sustainability of business models, risks to dividend paying capacity and earnings growth, and key judgments underlying the financials which may need revisiting in light of COVID-19.
HMRC v Staveley Definitive court rulings on the treatment of pensions with regards to inheritance tax are few and far between and so the recent High Court judgement on the Staveley case is significant, not just for its outcome but for the arguments presented regarding 3 crucial aspect of pension death benefits. The facts • Mrs Staveley held a section 32 pension policy as part of a divorce settlement from her ex-husband. Death benefits under this plan would be paid into her estate and distributed in accordance with her will. • Under the (pre A-Day) rules at the time any surplus under this plan could have been returned to her husband’s company, where the benefits had originated, on her death. • Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, Mrs Staveley transferred her benefits to a personal pension plan and named her sons as beneficiaries in order to ensure her husband would not receive any benefits after her death. • Mrs Staveley did not take any benefits from either of these plans, although she was eligible to do so. HMRC’s view was that 2 ‘transfer of value’ had taken place 1. When the benefits were transferred away from the section 32 plan. 2. When Mrs Staveley deliberately chose not to withdraw money from her plans. Transfer of value The definition of a ‘transfer of value’ is a transfer [of assets] which reduce the value of the transferor’s estate. This has long been a contentious point when it comes to pensions as most pensions are not paid to the policyholder’s estate. Mrs Staveley’s case is slightly unusual in that the benefits would have been paid to her estate had they been held in the section 32 plan at the time of her death, and her sons would therefore have been due to pay a potential IHT charge. However, by the time her death occurred the benefits were paid from the personal pension under trustee discretion. It would seem therefore that the benefits had never been in Mrs Staveley’s estate and this could not be a transfer of value. HMRC’s argument, and one which has long been understood by the industry, was that the funds did actually pass through the estate during an intermediate stage within the transfer process: 1. Transfer of funds from the s32 plan.
3. Subsequent transfer from the estate to the personal pension. Fortunately for the next generation, the Supreme Court took the view that this was a ‘wholly artificial’ procedure and confirmed that the estate did not at any time have control over the disposition of the funds. Ill-health It is undeniable that Mrs Staveley was in extreme illhealth when she took the decision to transfer her s32 plan, and it was commonly thought that a transfer in these circumstances would result in an IHT charge. The Staveley argument was that the mother’s motivation was to prevent her husband from benefitting, and not to confer any ‘gratuitous benefit’ to her sons. In fact The Supreme Court decided not to focus on motivation, but on the argument that Mrs Staveley’s sons did not in fact achieve any gratuitous right to the benefits, either under the s32 or the personal pension as Mrs Staveley could have taken benefits out of the plan, or changed either her will or the expression of wish at any time. The transfer from the s32 plan was therefore deemed not to be a transfer of value, despite the fact that the sons ended up with more money by not having to pay the IHT, than would have been due had they received the benefits from the estate. Omission to take benefits On the second question, that of omission to take benefits, the Supreme Court took the view that this had resulted in a transfer of value since these benefits would have formed part of Mrs Staveley’s estate. This is however based on a rule that was in place at the time that specifically stated that a transfer of value can result if an individual fails to take the benefits they are entitled to. Fortunately for future generations an exemption was introduced in 2011 in respect of pension benefits, without which the current pension freedoms would simply not work. Considerations going forward The key issue to consider is what will happen to death benefits following a transfer made in serious ill-health. The Staveley case would seem to indicate that the ‘2 year rule’ which we are obliged to warn our clients about when transferring benefits may in fact not apply. That said, the Staveley case was also based, at least in part, on the issue of motivation and gratuitous benefit, so it seems we may need to wait for another high profile case (or a change in the IHT rules) before we can be sure of the outcome for the next ‘Staveley’. To be on the safe side, we will certainly not be dropping the warning while this uncertainty remains.
2. Theoretical ‘return to zero’ moment when rights under the s32 plan ceased, but rights under the personal pension had not started and the funds are deemed to be in the control of the member.
by Fiona Tait Technical Director Intelligent Pensions
SOLVENCY II & BEYOND
INSURERS FRONT AND CENTRE IN A COVID-19 WORLD
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance companies found themselves in the centre of the storm. In a matter of hours and days (not weeks), many carriers had to make their entire operations remote.At the same time, they were fielding calls about changing coverage; answering questions about business interruption policies; and continuing to pay claims for life, health and disability insurance.
the crisis exceptionally well, largely due to investments they’d already made in networks, applications, laptops and more. The crisis did expose a number of gaps and vulnerabilities, and it reinforced the need for additional technology investments. But, overall, industry leaders can feel secure in the knowledge that the battle is being managed and the near-term path forward, while precarious, is one they know how to navigate.
Insurance companies are designed for this. Actuarial modelling, risk analysis and crisis planning are at the core of their business. With policyholders—individuals and businesses— suffering as a result of the crisis, regulators and legislators expect insurance companies to live up to their responsibilities. Those that don’t will likely face enormous reputational consequences. Getting it wrong is not an option.
The big question now facing leading carriers is this: How do we continue to adapt our business strategies to accommodate a new way of working? Three topics come up frequently as the industry looks to the future:
So far, insurance companies have weathered
● The need to accelerate digital transformation ● How to bolster the balance sheet ● How to get employees back to the office
Insurers returning to the office As September begins and efforts to kickstart the economy continue, insurance companies are starting to think about workforce models that combine a new mix of remote and on-site employees. For many, this will require at least two phases: one that includes some employees returning to the office soon, and a longer-term version that is more comprehensive.
● When employees return to the office: In making this decision, firms should follow government guidelines, prioritize the return of employees whose work requires them to be on-site and be prepared for another shutdown. Worksite shutdowns may be necessary because of a local worksite infection or if we experience a second wave of the pandemic resulting in government-mandated stay-at-home orders.
The sweeping scale of a return-to-work program (which may take 18 months or more to complete) offers insurers an opportunity to revisit priorities, plans and strategies. At the heart of any program are three questions that carriers should explore: if, when and how should employees return to the office?
● How workers can return safely: Before bringing workers back to the office, insurers should understand their employees’ work/life needs (such as childcare commitments if schools aren’t open), risk tolerance and safety concerns about exposure during the commute or while on-site. Reconfiguring office space to meet social ● If employees go back to the office: Before distancing requirements will help to provide deciding whether to bring workers back to the safety. So will testing, tracking and sanitation. office, companies should determine if employees want to return- this in itself is a huge cultural There are many other issues to address, such change for an industry which arguably has some as critical issues of liability should a returning of the most traditional on-site working models. employee contract COVID-19. But answering They must then conduct their own modelling on the questions of if, when and how employees can how successful a work-from-home structure is return to the office will allow leaders to consider likely to be. This will vary across job types, and the technology and operational infrastructure we’re likely to see hybrid models, with employees needed to support an evolved workforce and working at home much of the time, but visiting successfully navigate the upcoming period of instability. the office weekly or monthly as needed.
by Alex Bertolotti, Insurance Leader, PwC page 15
LOCKDOWN LEFT OFFICES EMPTY
Change in work creates a change in risk as lockdown left offices empty Jonathan Guard, Director, Commercial Insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, UK and Ireland The Government has urged office workers across the UK to get back to their desks. However, London and other major commercial hubs that became ‘ghost towns’ during lockdown remain largely unoccupied. Ironically, many commercial property insurance providers with city offices currently remain in ‘working from home mode,’ leaving their own offices largely unoccupied as they endeavour to understand the changing risk of the commercial properties they insure. The risks associated with empty premises versus those that are occupied are very different. There can be a greater risk of vandalism and burglary. The European Parliament in Brussels was victim to a lockdown burglary, and closer to home, Police Authorities have been urging businesses to ramp up their security measures . Arson is still one of the leading causes of fires on commercial premises . These claims are generally much higher in cost than fires started for other reasons because they often occur when a property is vacant and the fire has time to spread. Fire claims submissions have, according to a recent report , seen a spike of 40% between 1 May to 11 June 2020, with commercial property including outbuildings and outside areas accounting for 63.4% of total fire claims.
In addition to opportunistic crime like arson, insurance providers must now factor for the risks associated with problems emerging in the insured building, such as escape of water or electrical fires, which may go undetected for much longer than if the building was occupied. The risk of claims fraud also needs to be considered as Government support measures ease back and firms face increasing financial pressure. Throw into the mix an extreme weather event, further lockdowns potentially hinder the ability to fully investigate claims, and the risk of fraud becomes even greater. The market is very conscious of the fact that many businesses whose employees were able to transition to home working will be paying for their workspace and associated insurance even though the space is not being fully utilised. They will be looking for solutions from the insurance sector and from the commercial property market to help them get back on their feet and operate with potentially lower overheads and reduced physical presence. At the same time, insurance providers must protect themselves from potentially rising claims costs in order to deliver premiums at a price businesses can afford to pay. They need to get a comprehensive, multidimensional view of risk in an instant. It requires a combination of data regarding the characteristics of the property; its location; the individuals behind the business;
environmental risks; and soon, past claims for both the property and the business, direct into the insurance eco-system to support commercial e-trading. One consolidated view at point of quote using real-time data would be a big step forward in delivering cover appropriate to the risk.
surveyed – 42% - said their application process was all or mostly digital. Now that the environment the commercial property market is operating in has altered significantly, the appetite for data and digitisation to understand risk faster and with a higher degree of accuracy, looks sets to grow.
Getting on the front foot in an extreme weather event will be even more vital in a COVID-19 environment. Live data from the Environment Agency, Met Office and other organisations can help insurance providers to visualise, track and act on what is happening in near real-time and understand where their exposures and accumulations lie. It also allows them to focus resources on supporting policyholders they have identified as being at risk from an event – and equally those who are not.
Already the market can access perils risk scores alongside publicly available data and identity verification data, property and business data for automated e-trading based on the complete picture of risk for commercial property quotes and renewals.
Data integration, digitisation and automation are key to how the commercial property market can adapt for both the short and longer-term change to office occupancy and where, when and how we work as a consequence of the pandemic. The value of data enrichment for improved quote processing times, reduced referrals and better customer experiences in commercial property is already well understood. Just prior to the pandemic, a study found 77% of commercial property insurance providers are using or planning to use data enrichment. Perils data on flood, fire, subsidence risk has the highest value to the market, followed by insights on prior claims related to the property and the policyholder. However, only 23% said they were using mostly digitised underwriting and under half of those
Perils risks can be visualised at individual property level, at point of quote, or across an entire book of business to calculate exposure in real-time, plan resourcing, identify market opportunities and spot areas of accumulations in the UK’s commercial hubs. Digitising the underwriting process with these data points will also allow the market to take advantage of the latest innovations in commercial property risk insights coming down the line – from deeper insights around flood risks to claims history. This will help support the development of new types of cover and fair pricing for businesses looking for increased value and a better customer journey from their insurance provider. With predictions of a hybrid future of work with people mixing home and office working , accurate and timely data insights will help support the demand for more flexible insurance covers that respond to flexible working practices.
i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii.
https://www.ft.com/content/38177be2-c782-478a-87ca-c9f113f093a4?segmentId=bf7fa2fd-67ee-cdfa-8261-b2a3edbdf916 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/aug/03/boris-johnson-plea-get-back-to-work-falls-on-deaf-ears-in-birmingham-coronavirus https://www.politico.eu/article/robberies-european-parliament-lockdown-coronavirus/ https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/18353922.7-ways-firms-can-avoid-burglaries-coronavirus-lockdown/ https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Arson Report by Crawford & Company July 2020 https://www.crawco.co.uk/resources/data-driven-fire LexisNexis Risk Solutions has published a white paper, ‘A digital divide?’, sharing the results of the latest study, which involved more than 100 insurance professionals working in relevant lines of insurance. viii. https://www.ft.com/content/5281b079-d7da-49d0-a16c-a62c8f1a123f?segmentId=bf7fa2fd-67ee-cdfa-8261-b2a3edbdf916
by Jonathan Guard, Director, Commercial Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions page 17
COSTS UNDER TH
by Dale Critchley Policy Manager Aviva Recent weeks have seen consultations focusing on the charges in workplace pensions. The DWP is looking at whether the charge cap should be reviewed and if transaction charges should be included while the FCA is consulting on a standard assessment of value for money, which has a particular focus on costs and charges too. Costs and charges have a key role to play in determining member outcomes. The power of compounding means that a small % increase in returns transforms into a larger % increase in fund size at retirement. It’s easy to show this in an illustration: decrease the charges and investment returns will rise, and if all other factors stay the same, the customer is richer in retirement. It’s also easy for people to understand. If I reduce the charges I can see that people are going to be better off than if charges (for exactly the same thing) were higher. We know that human beings aren’t good at processing huge amounts of data, we tend to shun complexity and look for simpler solutions to complex problems. This simple sum and
the assumption that a workplace pension is a homogenous product works well. The problem with the illustration and the thought process behind it, is that it’s not often in life that you can get the exact same thing for less. Anyone who’s been tempted to buy the cheapest bucket and spade for their summer staycation this year may well have discovered the folly of their decision as the spade snapped and the handle came off the bucket mid sandcastle. If we were to consider the impact of a lower charge in depth, we’d need to examine a range of impacts, not just do the simple mental arithmetic. A lower limit on charges for investment solutions may well limit the range of investments a scheme can use, the sophistication of any volatility management and the ability of the trustees to manage risks. At Aviva we’re focused on managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks within the funds we manage as well as through the default solutions we make available
to workplace pensions. This helps trustees meet their legislative responsibilities as well as helping deliver sustainable long-term growth for members. But this additional work can result in additional costs. Transaction charges are another type of cost that are currently under the microscope. These are the charges incurred by the fund manager when trading the investments that make up the fund. If we assume these are to be reduced, we have to think how that would be achieved. If it’s through fewer trades, what is the potential impact on returns if there’s more focus on buying and holding than trading? Charges in bundled DC pensions don’t only cover investment costs, generally they’ll cover the cost of running the pension scheme, the administration and all member communications too. So, we’d also need to look at the impact of cost cutting in these areas and how they might affect member behaviour. What impact would lower quality communications or administration have on member confidence in the scheme, and
their ability to make good decisions when contributing, and importantly, when taking their benefits? An employee who takes all of their DC benefits as a lump sum (potentially becoming an additional rate tax-payer in the process) can undo years of good governance and management of returns. It’s clear that contrary to how we naturally think about charges, the impact of reducing them is not a simple and direct relationship with returns. There are a host of intangibles that come into play. The more difficult decisions, about potential investment returns and human behaviour, demand more analysis by governance bodies. While it’s important that we put charges under the microscope, its equally important that we look up from the microscope and take the bigger picture into account, to make those value judgements that can have such a significant impact on member outcomes.
RETIREMENT PUZZLE IF YOU CAN LOSE YOUR MONEY WHILE ALL AROUND ARE KEEPING THEIRS by Alex White, Head of ALM Research, Redington At its simplest, as an investor you want to make money.Youâ€™re trying to increase returns and reduce risk. In some of my earlier posts, Iâ€™ve covered how diversification can help with this goal; for example, diversifying a portfolio from one asset class to two (uncorrelated, equal volatility) asset classes would reduce the overall volatility by 30%. However, this can be reversed. If your portfolio is diversified from the market, it means it will behave differently from the market. Fundamentally, that means there will be times where the market goes up and your diversifying assets go down. In fact, the more diversifying your assets, the more likely and more extreme this effect will be. The table below shows the probability of underperforming a lognormal asset with a mean return of 4% and a volatility of 20% with an identically distributed, correlated asset.
So, a diversifying asset will sometimes lose money when other assets are making money. In a way, this is exactly the property you want. But it can be difficult. In particular, diversifying assets are generally more complicated, and rely on less intuitive approaches to make money (such as alpha, or systematic risk premia). Psychologically, it can be extremely difficult to maintain confidence in a complicated and underperforming structure, especially if markets are generally up. That has a cost. As an example, we can simulate 10,000 20-year periods of a lognormal asset with a 4% mean and 20% volatility, and mimic a sale of the asset in the event of a certain size loss over one year. In the 10% case, if the asset fell by 10% in year 6, it would be sold, and the returns would only be measured over those 6 years.
SELL ON A LOSS OF:
PROBABILITY OF OVERALL LOSS
AVERAGE -3.1% -3.2% -.29% -2.3% ANNUALIZED RETURN
The lower your tolerance for holding an asset through a downturn, the more likely you are to lose money on it overall (assuming it has a positive expected return). In fact, if a 1-1.5 volatility move causes you to sell, you can expect a negative annualised return. What’s going on? Effectively, the holding period is biased against you.You’re holding it for a period until there’s a loss - so there’s a good chance you’ll hold the asset for a short period that contains a large loss. Now, some of this is optical - the mean return is constant, but the average annualised return depends on the period held - so the average of -5% pa for one year in one simulation and 5% pa for 20 years in another would be 0%. If we weighted the simulations by the time held, the average would be the underlying mean. However, if you bought an asset then sold it at a loss, you’re unlikely to take much consolation from the asset subsequently going up. If you have a plethora of equally good portfolios available to you, and sell out into an equally good asset, this isn’t that big a problem - the drag will just be transaction costs. However, if you revert to a simpler, less diversified portfolio, then you are likely to be worse off for it. What does this all mean? If you buy an asset without being especially convinced of it, or without fully understanding it, it’s likely to be harder to hold onto it through any losses. The less able you are to hold an asset through a difficult period, the more likely it is that you’ll lose money on it.
search & selection
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTUARY!
Bolton Associatesâ€™ focus is specifically in the non-life actuarial space; the largest dedicated GI actuarial specialist in the market. Working throughout the insurance market, the consultants at Bolton Associates offer an exceptional service, managing the process with the utmost tact and respect for all parties. We are passionate about our market, taking great interest in the insurance world as a whole, keeping up with trends and changes, and maintaining our everexpanding network. We are good at what we do, because we enjoy what we do.
The next focus for Bolton Associates’ Spotlight page, is an interview with a leading actuary within one of the market’s MGAs. As the Lloyd’s and London Market has evolved, more and more new entrants are turning to the Managing General Agent set-up option. Many of these new businesses are sitting under umbrella MGAs, who have a number of individual underwriting teams, and assist with providing capacity. These MGAs understand the value of analytics and actuarial input, and for the next few months Zoe Bolton will be talking to the senior actuaries in these firms, getting a brief insight into their career paths and visions for the future. This month Zoe talks to Mark West, Chief Actuary of Vigilis Underwriting.
What is your current role, and how did you end up in it? I consult as an actuary with a Household/Commercial MGA providing a range of actuarial and analytical services. It’s my first foray outside of the traditional London Market but if you understand the different business needs and pressures you understand the role. What is the defining moment of your career to date? I think it was during my first GI role when I realised that I understood the client’s business and concerns. It increased the range of wins I could get from a situation. Within a pricing context it sometimes seems the actuary only matters if you can get to the price. I was able to explain to both the brokers and clients what had changed within the business during the year to alter the price along with the pricing/risk changes we needed to be able to participate the next year. In your opinion, what prepared you best to take on your current role? I’ve benefitted massively from being able to work across pricing, risk, reserving and capital seeing the similarities and differences within a range of business models. I can fit the approach to the current business needs and I can accept when “my” solution needs to change. As an actuary you often build a model, a business structure or a process that is fit for purpose at that point in time, knowing when it’s no longer fit for purpose is vital. What is the biggest challenge you face in your role within this market? As the market hardens in some areas it may be tempting to let standards slip to support top line. Firms need to focus on their strengths and MGAs have a role within this, not least in helping brokers understand how to deal with rate hardening. In many ways I see the insurance market getting tougher in the future. The insurance lifecycle comprises selection of risk, risk managing exposures and running down old business efficiently. Actuaries can help management understand both
their sectors of excellence and the firm’s competencies within the lifecycle. The best firms of tomorrow will be those who understand their business model and focus on their areas of excellence whilst using external suppliers for noncore areas; top management time is precious. How does your actuarial training and background assist in your day-to-day role now? The actuarial education system gives high quality training across accounting, economics, statistics and data analytics. To add value you need to give actionable insight to management using these tools and business understanding. I’ve worked with a range of technical and non-technical mangers and having a compelling narrative backed by analysis helps you to influence effectively. Experience has also taught me that people won’t always follow your recommendations; you have to accept those decisions, support them, and move forwards. When did you first join the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries, and what advice would you give to those students looking to emulate your career path? I joined the Institute in 2002 and moved across to GI in 2006 in the wake of Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Whenever you start a new job, or change roles within a business, write down your initial thoughts. After 6-12 months look back with the knowledge you’ve gained and think what you understood straight away and things you missed. It’s too easy to think, with 20/20 hindsight, that you understood it all at the start which is a waste of a valuable learning opportunity. If you had your time again, what would you do, career-wise? If I wasn’t an actuary I’d like to be running a 2/3 Michelin starred restaurant on the beachfront somewhere warm. Please share your favourite piece of trivia with our readers! Thorium based nuclear power was investigated in the US during the 1940s. It produces around 99% less nuclear waste and also eliminates the risk of a core meltdown. It is much harder to create nuclear weapons from Thorium reactors so research was discontinued in the US in 1973.
TIME TO HOME IN ON HOME CLAIMS DATA In just six months, the way we occupy and use our homes has altered dramatically, and the change in risk this creates will be felt in the market’s claims experience. Already there have been reports from the industry about a rise in fire accidents in the home .
complex by the fact that 14% of homeowners are now considering cancelling their contents insurance given they are now mainly based at home, and 11% who are suffering financially as a result of the pandemic are looking to reduce or cancel their policy entirely .
Pandemic puppy purchases ; boomerang kids returning from Uni; furloughed workers turning to DIY; home-offices in the shed; school tuition from the kitchen table; online keep fit classes – many homes are getting a lot more use this year than ever. This could bring about a rise in the number of claims due to accidental damage and conversely, there could also be a lower number of claims due to burglary.
The financial strain on individuals as a result of Covid-19 will be a key concern for the market – there is clearly a need to keep prices competitive but there may also be fears about the impact this could have on claims fraud and quote manipulation. Prior to the pandemic our own consumer research found: • 66% of home insurance buyers think it is acceptable to manipulate information given to price comparison websites to get a lower home quote • 59% of UK homeowners shop around when their policy is up for renewal, to get the best value for money. At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, we have always expounded the value of creating the most holistic view of risk at quote and claim to price fairly and accurately, support customers during the lifetime of the policy and expedite claims.
We need to also consider external factors at play that won’t have changed – flood; windstorms; subsidence. The market will be bracing itself for the next extreme weather event given the high cost of storms Ciara and Dennis at the start of the year and the impact further lockdowns could have on claims costs if tradespeople are unable to enter a property. Pricing in home insurance does, however, remain competitive – the latest Consumer Intelligence report shows the cost of buildings and contents insurance has risen 0.5% in the last 3 months (to an average premium of £151), with prices rising just 2.3% in the last six years . This all creates a challenging dynamic for home insurance providers when assessing risk, made more
The home insurance market can now access geospatial data including perils data such as flood, fire and subsidence alongside 42 further data enrichment sources from one access point, at point of quote. Adding to this mix, we have reached a point now in the home insurance market where we can bring
in a new dimension to that view using industry contributed claims data through the creation of a market-wide home claims history database. Claims data provides a much greater understanding of the nature of prior claims – the circumstances, the settlement, the parties involved. Richer claims data can then allow for greater pricing segmentation, helping individuals with the right kind of claims history to benefit. Rather than simply understanding whether the individual had a prior claim or not – it will allow the insurance provider to understand the type of claim, when it occurred and how much it was settled for. It can also be used at point of claim, for example, to help the insurance provider assess whether an accident at home aligns with what has happened in the past. In essence, it gives the market valuable context to make pricing and claims decisions. If we do see a rise in claims due to more home occupancy, the insights provided through a contributed claims database could help insurance providers better distinguish between the individuals who meet their underwriting appetite and could be incentivised to buy or renew with the offer of lower premiums, versus those assessed as being outside of their niche.
Prior claims for the property also needs to be considered. For example, understanding whether a property has a history of weather related claims continues to build the picture of risk and enables insurance providers to consider developing propositions to help customers mitigate those environmental risks. The impact of Covid-19 on home insurance risk has underlined the need for a full view of a policy’s potential risk at inception but also the value of market wide claims data in assessing that risk. Claims data in combination with public records data, and quote history data can help build a better picture of the customer at the point of quote and claim to deliver appropriate premiums and help reduce the market’s potential exposure to claims fraud. With repeated reports of home working largely remaining ‘the norm’ for some time to come, unemployment rising and local lockdowns occurring, it is clear that home insurance providers may need to think differently about how they assess risk – claims data could be their ally in this new world.
i. http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/aviva-urges-fire-safety-as-lockdown-leads-to-home-incidents-18307.htm/ https://www. crawco.com/assets/uploads/docs/uk-resource-Data-Driven-Fire.pdf?utm_source=slipcase&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_ campaign=slipcase ii. https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/people-buying-pets-lockdown-been-21976747 iii. https://www.consumerintelligence.com/articles/homeowners-consider-cancelling-insurance-cover-as-financial-strain-mounts iv. https://www.consumerintelligence.com/articles/homeowners-consider-cancelling-insurance-cover-as-financial-strain-mounts v. Source: LexisNexis Risk Solutions UK Home Insurance Study- Data collected June – July 2019.Core Sample: 3,083 Residential Homeowners in the UK +446 boost - Recent claims filers (filed claim in past 5 years.) Data of 1,576 Homeowners and 1,507 Renters vi. https://metro.co.uk/2020/08/16/rishi-sunak-warned-uk-heading-great-depression-era-unemployment-levels-13135510/
by Neill Slane, Snr Vertical Market Manager, Claims Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions page 25
search & selection Reserving and Capital Analyst
General Insurance £45,000 Per Annum London
General Insurance £Competitive London
Fantastic opportunity to join a new Managing Agency for a part-qualified actuary. The role will be supporting the Head of Capital & Reserving, and candidates will get full exposure to both. Assisting with the build out of the reserving process and capital modelling in Tyche. Experience in VBA would be ideal.
Leading Lloyd’s Syndicate seeks a Pricing Actuary with 2-4 years pricing experience to cover all lines of business. Traditional pricing work coupled with the opportunity to get involved with new product areas for the team and wider business development. You will be newly qualified or making good headway with the exams and have London Market/Lloyd’s experience as well as strong IT skills.
REF: ZB 001496 MM
REF: ZB 0001445 SC
Qualified Pricing Actuary
Capital and Reserving Actuary
General Insurance £130,000 + Excellent Package London
General Insurance £120,000 + Benefits + Bonus North of England
Global insurance company has an opening for a pricing actuary to lead their engineering book along with involvement in business projects within property, energy and construction. Reporting into the head of pricing. The pricing team is entering a new era with their analytics and you will play a key role in using the data to generate new insights in the portfolio performance and pricing analyses. .
Personal Lines insurer is looking for an experienced qualified Actuary to work across capital and reserving. Excellent communication skills required as you will be providing actuarial advice to the CFO and Board as well as managing a small team. Knowledge of Solvency II actuarial function requirements.
REF: ZB 0001495 CS
REF: ZB 0001493 OG
Nearly / Newly Capital Actuary
Motor Pricing Actuary
General Insurance £85,000 + Benefits + Bonus London
General Insurance Circa £150,000 + Bonus Berlin
Global re/ insurance company with a Lloyd’s syndicate has an opening for a capital actuary, ideally close or newly qualified to join their team. The role will be an all-encompassing capital role where you will gain exposure to all aspects of capital work. Reporting directly to the head of capital and ideally with experience of IGLOO or Tyche. .
Want to work for the leading future motor insurer? Insurtech is looking for an experienced Motor Pricing expert to develop Motor insurance products across European markets and the UK. This is a true leadership role where you will build a team working on the most innovative products in the industry.
REF: ZB 0001420 HT
REF: ZB 0001485 OG
www.bolton-associates.co.uk page 26 +44 (0)207 250 4718 Bolton Associates, 5 St. John’s Lane, London, EC1M 4BH