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Insurance Insights November 2021

Brian Morrissey, Head of Insurance, and our insurance team have compiled a collection of KPMG's latest publications and articles which focus on developments in, and issues facing the insurance industry. Also included are recent publications from the CBI, EIOPA, and other European bodies.

KPMG Updates

Global Insurance CEO Outlook

Based on the insurance data cut from the KPMG Global Insurance CEO Outlook 2021, the report provides a unique snapshot of the views of 129 insurance CEOs, and how their strategies and concerns have shifted during these demanding times. KPMG led by Laura Hay (Global Head of Insurance, KPMG Internal) focus on innovation and purpose to fuel growth.

Can capital markets save the planet?

In a joint effort KPMG International (Anthony Cowell, Partner KPMG Cayman Islands; Andrew Weir, Global Chair KPMG Advisory China and Richard Threlfall, Global Head of KPMG IMPACT), CREATE-Research, and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association examine in detail the role of capital markets in the transition to a low-carbon world. The report, “Can Capital Markets Save the Planet?” investigates the experiences to date of climate investing and the changes we can expect in the next 3 years, as we move towards a new investment paradigm. The research includes insights from 90 institutional investors, alternative investment managers, long only managers and pension consultants in 20 countries in all the key regions.

Post COP26

As COP26 concludes, are we on the cusp on a major positive shift in finally tackling the climate crisis or is there still a tremendous amount of work to be done? And what does it mean for business on the island of Ireland? Mike Hayes (Global Head of Renewables) and Russell Smyth (Partner) of KPMG share some post COP26 perspectives.

How cloud-based cyber security helped KPMG stay safe and connected

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, KPMG’s network of independent member firms had to adapt rapidly to allow staff to work and serve their clients from home. Brian Geffert, KPMG’s Global Chief Information Security Officer discusses how the move to the cloud provided several advantages. Most notably, updates and new features which can be pushed out across the global organization centrally rather than in each data centre which can significantly reduce the time to deploy.

Annual Insurance update including CBI perspectives

KPMG will hold our annual year-end insurance briefing on Wednesday, 1 December. Andrew Candland, Head of Actuarial, Advisory and Major International Insurance Firms at Central Bank of Ireland will provide an update on progress on the 2021 regulatory priorities and give his perspective on the key focus areas for the Central Bank in 2022.

To compliment the regulatory update, we will consider the key issues impacting insurers and reinsurers including:

  • Relevant changes to accounting standards impacting 2021 year ends across IFRS and Irish GAAP financial reporting frameworks and the most up to date developments on IFRS 17.
  • Noting that the Global CEO survey puts tax risk as the number two risk on the minds of CEOs in financial services, a strategic review of current tax issues;
  • With increased regulatory focus on Climate and ESG matters, we will update on emerging developments and what this means for your organisation;
  • A discussion of current hot topics impacting insurers and reinsurers.

Click here to register.

Central Bank of Ireland Updates

CBI sets out supervisory expectations of regulated firms regarding climate change, and reaffirms own commitment to take action

The CBI issued a press release and wrote to regulated financial service providers to highlight the statutory obligations and related supervisory expectations relating to climate and sustainability issues.

EIOPA Updates

EIOPA: European insurers’ risk levels remain broadly stable

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has published its Risk Dashboard based on Solvency II data from the second quarter of 2021. The results show that insurers’ exposures to macro risks remain at a high level while all other risk categories, such as insurance, profitability and solvency risks, remain at medium levels and are improving. The environmental, social and governance (ESG) related risks, included for the first time in the current Risk Dashboard, are at a medium level.

EIOPA: Solvency II

EIOPA has published updated representative portfolios that will be used for calculation of the volatility adjustments (VA) to the relevant risk-free interest rate term structures for Solvency II. EIOPA will start using these updated representative portfolios for the calculation of the VA and will be published at the beginning of April 2022.

EIOPA: Monthly technical information relating to RFR following the approach for Interbank Offered Rates transitions

As of November 2021, based on the published approach for the implementation of Interbank Offered Rates (IBOR) transitions, EIOPA will publish monthly calculations of the technical information relating to the risk-free interest rate (RFR) term structures in parallel to the current official published RFR information. The dual run will be prior to the transition date as of January 2022, implementing the updated methodology for the calculation of the risk-free interest rates for the British pound, Swiss franc and Japanese yen.

EIOPA: Climate change

During the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, EIOPA highlighted its commitment to support the insurance and pensions sectors in tackling climate change. Among other activities, EIOPA will also finalize the first European-wide dashboard on the natural catastrophe insurance protection gap in 2022.

EIOPA: PRIIPs Regulation

EIOPA has published a speech by Fausto Parente, EIOPA Executive Director, regarding the statement on revised delegated act (RTS) on the Key Information Document under the Packaged Retail Investment and Insurance-Based Products (PRIIPs) Regulation.

EIOPA: Welcomes Solvency II proposals from the European Commission on sustainability

EIOPA has welcomed the Solvency II proposals of the European Commission (EC) to give mandates to EIOPA for further action on sustainable finance. EIOPA believes that these proposals will contribute positively to a transition into a more sustainable economy and that insurers can facilitate this as part of their role as investors and risk managers.

EIOPA: Cyber risks on insurance industry

EIOPA has published an article on the impact of cyber risks on the insurance industry. EIOPA refers to a recent study on COVID-19 and cyber risk in the financial services sector, which revealed that the sector has experienced the largest number of COVID-19-related cyber events of any sector, with insurers one of the three most affected types of financial business.

EIOPA: Speech

EIOPA has published a speech by Petra Hielkema, Chairperson, at the annual hearing of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

EIOPA: Supervisory Handbook

EIOPA has published the Supervisory Handbook. The Supervisory Handbook recommends good practices to EIOPA’s members and observers for the supervision of insurance and reinsurance undertakings and groups carrying on life and non-life business.

EIOPA: Second report on insurers' failures and near misses

EIOPA has published its second report on failures and near misses in insurers, which provides an overview of recovery and resolution actions and cross-border issues. The report is based on the information contained in EIOPA's database, which comprises a sample of 219 affected insurance undertakings in 31 EU countries, dating from 1999 to 2020.

Other European and International Supervisory Authority Updates

IAIS: Newsletter

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) has published a Newsletter, dated October 2021. The Newsletter outlines various news, including the commitment to climate change, launch of a Climate Training Alliance and notification of upcoming Dialogue on opportunities to improve insurability.

IAIS: Statement on amplifying response to climate change

The IAIS published a statement in advance of COP26, to confirm its continued commitment to urgently advance work to address risks and opportunities associated with climate change. The IAIS notes that insurers have a key role to play in climate change adaptation and risk mitigation.

IE: Supervision of run-off undertakings

Insurance Europe (IE) has responded to a consultation paper conducted by EIOPA on its statement on the supervision of run-off undertakings. Overall, the industry supports the strengthening of expertise on run-off businesses and welcomes EIOPA’s efforts to create a level-playing field with the same quality of standards for the run-off sector, as this will be helpful for the long-term stability and success of this segment of the market.

Gov: Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance, Seán Fleming TD, have received agreement from the Cabinet to commence drafting the Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

UK Updates

PRA: Home Adaptability and resilience in the mutuals sector - speech by Charlotte Gerken (Executive Director, Insurance)

The PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority) published a speech by Charlotte Gerken, where she highlights the adaptability and resilience of mutual insurers. She talks about what the review of Solvency II regulations will mean for the mutual sector and she sets out her views on three challenges it faces, which are: technological change, diversity and inclusion in the financial sector, and climate change risk.

PRA: Systemic Risk Survey Results - 2021 H2

PRA published the results of the Systematic Risk Survey- 2021 H2. It is a biannual survey that asks market participants about perceived risks to, and their confidence in, the stability of the UK financial system. Following are key observations:

  • Confidence in the stability of the UK financial system over the next three years has increased relative to recent surveys.
  • The perceived probabilities of a high-impact event in the UK financial system over both the short and medium term have decreased.
  • Cyber-attack risk is the most cited risk to the UK financial system, as well as the most challenging risk to manage.
  • Geopolitical risk and pandemic risk were the second and third most cited sources of risk to the financial system, respectively.

PRA: Technical Information for UK Solvency II firms for September 2021

PRA published technical information for UK insurance firms subject to Solvency II to calculate technical provisions. The information includes risk-free rate term structures, fundamental spreads for the calculation of the matching adjustment and, for each relevant national insurance market, the volatility adjustments. PRA also publish the symmetric adjustment to the equity capital charge (SAECC) that informs insurance firms’ capital calculations.

PRA: Why is the Prudential Regulation Authority revisiting the Solvency II matching adjustment?

PRA published a report on Why they are revisiting the Solvency II Matching Adjustment (MA). The report mentions that the current design of MA is insensitive to market signals from changes in credit spreads and might miss some of the risks that insurers face, which in turn could lead to lower policyholder protection. The PRA supports the MA but is concerned that some of the returns treated as a liquidity premium by the MA might instead be compensation for uncertainty around future credit losses and that this component should have greater sensitivity to market signals. This also offers an opportunity to consider the balance between a low and risk-insensitive calibration for retained risks. A Quantitative Impact Study (QIS) tested two exploratory scenarios that explicitly recognize compensation for variability around future credit losses and are more responsive to signals about credit risk. The report added that this QIS data will help them develop future policy options and any changes in this area will be subject to consultation.

PRA: Climate Change Adaptation Report 2021 - Climate-related financial risk management and the role of capital requirements

PRA published its Climate Adaptation Report 2021 in response to an invitation by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to participate under the third round of the climate change adaptation reporting power. The report sets out the response of the PRA to the risks posed by climate change to its operations and policy functions in two parts:

  • Part A of the report examines the risks posed by climate change to PRA regulated firms; the progress they have made in their management of these risks; what the PRA’s response to these risks has been; and the PRA’s supervisory strategy from 2022.
  • Part B of the report examines: the relationship between climate change and the Insurance and Banking Regulatory Capital regimes; whether there are gaps that should be addressed; and the PRA’s planned future work in this space.

FCA: Climate Change Adaptation Report

FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) published its Climate Change Adaptation Report. In this report, FCA set out its assessment of how the financial services industry and listed companies are adapting to climate change. It has set this in a broader context: how FCA as an organization is developing its strategic approach to climate related issues, and how it sees firms and markets evolving to meet new demands and challenges, and transition to net zero.

FCA: Travel insurance and coronavirus (Covid-19)

FCA published a Press-Release mentioning it’s expectations with the Firms that are selling Travel Insurance. FCA said that it expects firms to take account of the changes to the travel landscape in their marketing, sale, design, and monitoring of travel insurance products. It also expects firms to consider their regulatory requirements in the changed travel market.

FCA: Flood and Storm Insurance claims

FCA published a Press-Release reminding the insurers that it is essential to have plans in place to manage and operate effectively when there is a pressure on the services due to the significant weather events. FCA mentioned that at times like these, customers affected by damage may require immediate assistance. It also mentioned that the firms should make sure that they are able to respond to customers appropriately. FCA expects firms to handle storm and flood claims promptly. It also added that the Insurers hold regulatory responsibility for the claims process and outcomes, including when they delegate the handling of claims to a third party.


07 October: QRT S.20.01

Development of the distribution of the claims incurred
EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2295) that RBNS claims should be reported undiscounted in S.20.01.

12 October: Amortised cost prohibited as valuation approach under S2

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#1955) that in accordance with Article 9(2) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35, the valuation of assets follows IFRSs by default, if their valuation requirements are consistent with the valuation approach set out in Article 75 of Directive 2009/138/EC. Where those IFRSs allow for the use of more than one valuation method, insurance and reinsurance undertakings shall only use valuation methods that are consistent with Article 75 of Directive 2009/138/EC. Therefore, the application of the option to use an amortised cost approach is not appropriate.

12 October: Leased assets – use of derogation to recognise assets and liabilities under local GAAP

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#1953) that in accordance with Article 9 (together with Article 8) of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35, the recognition of assets and liabilities follows IFRSs by default. Undertakings falling under the exception of Article 9(4) may use the accounting requirements they use for preparing their annual or consolidated financial statements, and which are not IFRSs.

12 October: Treatment of interest swaps in SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2221) that according to Article 175 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35 the Spread Risk Sub-Module calculates the capital requirements for spread risk on Bonds and Loans, Securitisations and Credit Derivatives. Therefore, an interest rate derivative should not be included in the Spread Risk Sub-Module.

It also added that according to Article 189(2)(f) “derivatives other than credit derivatives covered in the spread risk sub-module" are in the scope of the type 1 counterparty default risk sub-module. Therefore, an interest rate swap is in the scope of the type 1 counterparty default risk sub-module.

15 October: Risk margin excluded in calculation of currency risk SCR module

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2179) that the risk margin should not be included in the calculation of the capital requirement for currency risk. This is in line with Article 83(1)(a) of Commission Delegated deemed to be backing the technical provisions, which are not denominated in the local currency or in the Group currency must be included in the calculation of the capital requirement for currency risk.

19 October: Per policy expense within mass lapse risk SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#1837) that this question has been rejected because the matter it refers to has been answered in Q&A (#1678), which remains valid. Using the assumption of constant per policy expense for determining the capital requirements for mass lapse risk may in many cases be too optimistic with respect to the possibility to reduce costs. Also, the reason behind the retained correlation factor depends on the legislator intention.

21 October: Per policy expense within mass lapse risk SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2039) that this question has been rejected because the matter it refers to has been answered in Q&A (#1678), which remains valid. Article 75 requires market consistent valuation for assets and liabilities, and assumptions on best estimate valuation, including expenses, to be consistent with the characteristics of the portfolio of insurance and reinsurance obligations. However, market data may not be available or not properly reflect the characteristics of the portfolio. For this reason, undertakings should use undertaking specific data where the calculation of technical provisions in a prudent, reliable, and objective manner without that information is not possible. As the stress scenario includes situations where many undertakings would be affected by a deterioration in their economies of scale, market consistency is not contradicted.

21 October: Per policy expense within mass lapse risk SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#1990) that this question has been rejected because the matter it refers to has been answered in Q&A (#1678), which remains valid. The non-linearity of the dependency is considered in the calibration as per EIOPA Advice. Also, the answer to Q&A 1678 said that the capital requirement for mass lapse risk should reflect the adjustments after the mass lapse event that the insurer would have to make to the expense component of the cash flow projection in the best estimate calculation.

25 October: Life-expense risk sub-module

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#1995) that Article 140 of the Delegated Regulation requires that the amount of expenses taken into account in the calculation of technical provisions is stressed by 10%. Therefore, all expenses incurred in servicing insurance and reinsurance obligations should be stressed, which also includes commissions. Article 140 of the Delegated Regulation also requires an increase of 1 percentage point to the expense inflation rate (expressed as a percentage) used for the calculation of technical provisions.

28 October: Non-life premium and reserve risk

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2322) that notwithstanding any potential consequences resulting from the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment and the supervisory review process, for the calculation set out in Article 117(3) of the Delegated Regulation the application of the adjustment factor of 80 % for non-proportional reinsurance for segments 1,4 and 5 set out in Annex II does not depend on the existence/non-existence of non-proportional reinsurance. Consequently, the adjustment factor should be applied when calculating the capital requirement for underwriting risk and the hypothetical capital requirement for underwriting risk.

28 October: Look through approach in the SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2321) that the look-through approach should be applied to the notes issued by the entity in the following situations:

  • Special purpose entity issues untranched, secured, limited recourse obligation to the assets of the entity.
  • The issuance proceeds are invested in underlying collateral assets (such as US treasuries) that represent exposures to market risk.
  • The entity may enter a derivative transaction to transform the cash flows of the assets.
  • The entity does not engage in any other business other than investing in the assets, transforming the cashflows with derivatives and issuing notes to investors.
  • The notes pay out the combined cash flows produced by the collateral assets and the derivative transaction.

28 October: Loss of transitional status for own fund items due to change in IBOR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2289) that the following refers to basic own-fund items that have been included in Tier 1 respectively Tier 2 basic own funds based on Article 308b(9) and (10) Solvency II.

Guideline 27 should be interpreted in such way that: changes in the terms and conditions of these items that are strictly necessary to incorporate the transition from an interbank lending rate (IBOR) to another reference rate where the transition results from the discontinuance of the former, should not lead to the loss of the transitional status. This applies also for a change from STIBOR to SWESTR.

28 October: Treatment of future discretionary benefits in SCR

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2279) that Article 28 of the Delegated Regulation refers to benefits only in the context of payments to policyholders and beneficiaries and mentions payments of expenses as a separate category. The notion that future discretionary benefits cover only benefits to policyholders is also supported by Recital 17 of the Delegated Regulation. Therefore, the payments to the distributors by way of commission referred to in b) are not part of the future discretionary benefits. As a result, the provision in Article 83(1)(c) of the Delegated Regulation does not apply.

28 October: Transitional equity stress

EIOPA clarified in Q&A (#2161) that Article 308b 13) of the Directive 2009/138/EC states that the transitional equity stress should be calculated as the weighted averages of:

  • The standard parameter to be used when calculating the equity risk sub-module in accordance with Article 304; and
  • The standard parameter to be used when calculating the equity risk sub-module in accordance with the standard formula without the option set out in Article 304.
    Parameter as referred to in paragraph 1 is 22% (Article 170 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35). Parameter as referred to in paragraph 2 is 39% or 49% + symmetric adjustment (Article 169 of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35).

Transition to IFRS 17

Every month KPMG Ireland’s IFRS team produces an update on the progress of the industry to date on the implementation of the new insurance accounting standard.

Further information

For more on any of the items above, or any Insurance-related queries, contact Brian Morrissey, Head of Insurance.