Any firm that carries on long-term insurance business which is a regulatory basis only life firm 2must comply with the resilience capital requirement. This requires the firm to hold capital to cover market risk. The resilience capital requirement is dealt with in INSPRU 3.1.9 G to INSPRU 3.1.26 R.
For a firm that carries on long-term insurance business, the assets that it must hold must be of a value sufficient to cover the firm's technical provisions and other long-term insurance liabilities. INSPRU 1.2 contains rules and guidance as to the methods and assumptions to be used in calculating the mathematical reserves. One of these assumptions is the assumed rate of interest to be used in calculating the present value of future payments by or to a firm. INSPRU 3.1.28 R to INSPRU 3.1.48 G set out the methodology to be used in relation to long-term insurance liabilities.
Firms carrying on either long-term insurance business or general insurance business are also subject to currency risk. That is, the risk that fluctuations in exchange rates may impact adversely on a firm. INSPRU 3.1.49 G to INSPRU 3.1.56 G set out the requirements a firm must meet so as to cover this risk.
For a firm carrying on general insurance business, the Enhanced Capital Requirement already captures some elements of market risk. In addition, the requirements as to the assumed rate of interest used in calculating the present value of general insurance liabilities are contained in the insurance accounts rules, and these requirements are outlined in INSPRU 3.1.27 G.
Firms carrying on long-term insurance business that have property-linked liabilities or index-linked liabilities must cover these liabilities by holding appropriate assets. INSPRU 3.1.57 R and INSPRU 3.1.58 R set out these cover requirements.
Where the assets of a firm invested in a significant territory of a kind referred to in INSPRU 3.1.23R (1), INSPRU 3.1.23R (2) or INSPRU 3.1.23R (3)(a) represent less than 0.5% of the firm's long-term insurance assets (excluding assets held to cover index-linked liabilities or property-linked liabilities), measured by market value, the firm may assume for those assets the market risk scenario for assets of that kind invested in the United Kingdom set out in INSPRU 3.1.16 R instead of the market risk scenario set out in INSPRU 3.1.23 R.
a portfolio of assets whose value or yield is reasonably expected to correspond closely with the index-linked liability; or
an index-linked reinsurance contract; or
an index-linked approved derivative; or
an index-linked approved quasi-derivative; or
a combination of any of (1) to (5).
If a firm has incurred a policy liability which cannot be exactly matched by appropriate assets (for example the Limited Price Index (LPI)), the firm should seek to match assets that at least cover the liabilities. For example, an LPI limited to 5% per annum may be matched by an RPI bond or a fixed interest investment matching cash flows increasing at 5% per annum compound. Orders made by the Department for Work and Pensions under section 148 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, and which are limited to 5% per annum, may also be matched by a fixed interest investment matching cash flows increasing at 5% per annum compound (see also INSPRU 3.1.61-A G).4
In selecting the appropriate cover, the firm should ensure that both credit risk, and the risk that the value or yield in the assets will not, in all circumstances, match fluctuations in the relevant index, are within acceptable limits. Rules and guidance relating to credit risk are set out in INSPRU 2.1.
4Where liabilities are linked to orders made under section 148 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, firms are required by COBS 21.3.5R to notify the PRA10 before effecting any such business and to explain how the risks associated with this business will be safely managed. This requirement does not apply in respect of liabilities for which a limited revaluation premium has been paid to the Department for Work and Pensions so that the liability for revaluation, while still linked to section 148 orders, is limited to 5%. The risks may be mitigated by holding assets to cover an alternative index which is reasonably expected to at least cover the section 148 order (e.g. RPI plus a margin) over the duration of the link. The firm's exposure to an order under section 148 exceeding this index should be appropriately limited by putting a cap on the liabilities linked to the order so that risks are within acceptable limits.10
A pure reinsurer must invest its assets in accordance with the following requirements:
the assets must take account of the type of business carried out by the firm, in particular the nature, amount and duration of expected claims payments, in such a way as to secure the sufficiency, liquidity, security, quality, profitability and matching of its investments;
the firm must ensure that the assets are diversified and adequately spread and allow the firm to respond adequately to changing economic circumstances, in particular developments in the financial markets and real estate markets or major catastrophic events; the firm must assess the impact of irregular market circumstances on its assets and must diversify the assets in such a way as to reduce such impact;
investment in assets which are not admitted to trading on a regulated market must be kept to prudent levels;
investment in derivatives and quasi-derivatives must contribute to a reduction of investment risks or facilitate efficient portfolio management and such investments must be valued on a prudent basis, taking into account the underlying assets, and included in the valuation of the firm's assets. The firm must avoid excessive risk exposure to a single counterparty and to other derivative or quasi-derivative operations;
the assets must be properly diversified in such a way as to avoid:
accumulations of risk in the portfolio as a whole.
(5) does not apply to investment in government bonds.