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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The South African insurance sector is large, complex, internationally active, and competitive. Supported by high penetration and density of insurance products, the insurance sector has grown to account for 18 percent of the financial sector in South Africa. The industry hosts an unusually diverse range of business models, including traditional participation focused models, bank-led conglomerates, asset management focused groups, and technology driven new entrants. Even among large insurers, risk profiles vary significantly, which is unique relative to other major insurance markets. Most large insurance groups are actively expanding their business both regionally and globally.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The regulatory framework for insurance supervision in the United Kingdom is sophisticated and the authorities are leaders in supervisory techniques. Observance with the Insurance Core Principles (ICPs) is very high compared to peers with 17 ICPs observed and only 6 out of 24 ICPs determined to be largely observed and 1 partly observed.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This note provides an update and assessment of developments in insurance supervision since 2014. It is part of the 2020 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) for the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR) and draws on discussions there from September 10 to 24, 2019. It has not been updated for the impact of recent global events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The insurance sector is large, especially long-term (life) insurance, highly international and has been growing steadily. The long-term market is amongst the world’s largest, particularly by penetration (premiums to GDP). Growth has been supported by the popularity of savings products, including sales of policies to Mainland Chinese visitors (MCVs), although these have declined from their peak. The general insurance sector, though comprising many more companies, is relatively small and spread over many lines. The authorities have identified scope for growth in protection policies as well as opportunities for captive and specialty lines related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Tax incentives have supported the recent successful introduction of new annuity and health insurance products. Although foreign-owned companies account for a large share of business, the HKSAR is the home of three major domestic groups operating internationally.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Denmark’s insurance sector is highly developed with a particularly high penetration and density in the life sector. Traditionally, work-related life insurance and pension savings are offered as a combined package, and life insurance companies dominate the market for mandatory pension schemes for employees. The high penetration explains the overall size of the insurance sector, which exceeds those of peers from other Nordic countries and various other EU member states. Assets managed by the insurance industry amounted to 146 percent of the GDP at end-2018, compared to 72 percent for the EU average.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Norwegian insurance sector is well-capitalized. In recent years, the authorities have taken steps to recapitalize weak insurers and to boost capital for the overall industry. Risk-resilience has been strengthened by stronger retention of profits leading to accumulation of reserves, better risk management, and higher capital in the run-up to the implementation of the Solvency II regulatory regime.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note (TN) is a targeted review of cross-cutting themes building on the detailed assessment of the Insurance Core Principles (ICPs) conducted in 2015. The targeted review was chosen, in part, due to the performance of the U.S. insurance regulatory system in the 2015 detailed assessment where it was assessed that the U.S. observed 8 ICPs, largely observed 13 ICPs and partly observed 5 ICPs. The analysis relied on a targeted self-assessment against a subset of ICPs covering valuation and solvency, risk management, conduct, winding-up, corporate governance and enforcement, and the objectives, powers and responsibility of supervisors. The choice of subjects covered in this review is based on those aspects most significant to financial stability and a follow-up on key recommendations from the 2015 detailed assessment. The focus of the analysis has been on the state-based system of regulation and supervision, reflecting the existing institutional setup.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note (TN) provides an update and an assessment of the supervisory framework and practices for the Italian insurance sector since the last assessment concluded in 2013. The mission conducted a target review focusing on the implementation of Solvency II, the financial resilience of insurers, the effectiveness of supervision, and previously identified weaknesses without a full assessment of Italy’s observance with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) Insurance Core Principles (ICPs). Implementation of the European Union (EU) Solvency II Directive in 2016 has significantly strengthened regulation and supervision since the last FSAP, introducing risk-based capital standards, comprehensive insurance group supervision and new requirements on governance, risk management and controls. The supervision of intermediaries has also been strengthened in line with the EU Insurance Distribution Directive in 2018.
Peter Windsor, Jeffery Yong, and Michelle Chong-Tai Bell
The paper explores the use of accounting standards for insurer solvency assessment in the context of the implementation of IFRS 17. The paper is based on the results of a survey of 20 insurance supervisors. Overall, IFRS 17 is a welcome development but there will be challenges of implementation. Not many insurance supervisors currently intend to use IFRS 17 as a basis for solvency assessment of insurers. Perceived shortcomings can be overcome by supervisors providing clear specifications where the principles-based standard allows a range of approaches. Accounting standards can provide a ready-made valuation framework for supervisors developing new solvency frameworks.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This review provides an update on the Austrian insurance sector and an analysis of certain key aspects of the regulatory and supervisory regime. The note analyzes regulation and supervision in relation to key issues identified in previous Financial Sector Assessment Programs (FSAP), as well as material changes since the last FSAP. This note also covers the current situation and potential changes in the crisis management and early intervention framework of the insurance sector. It focuses on issues relevant to a long-standing policyholder protection mechanism, early intervention powers—existing and under discussion—and crisis management and resolution arrangements for insurance companies and groups. The analysis recommends that proper implementation of Solvency II needs ongoing validation and scrutiny by regulators, which could be at risk if supervisory resources with skills and expertise are not retained. Higher legal, reputational, and conduct risks are posing additional pressures to the life insurance sector. Market conduct supervision should be enhanced, with active use of enforcement powers in addition to the insights that studies launched by the government will provide.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note focuses on issues in insurance supervision and regulation on France. France has a very high level of insurance penetration, particularly for life insurance. For each insurance company, a risk assessment is undertaken on at least an annual basis and is recorded in a supervisory review process tool. French insurance companies are significant users of the Volatility Adjustment (VA), with companies representing more than 90 percent of the technical provisions in the French insurance industry using the VA. The report discusses that French authorities should advocate to the relevant EU authorities to introduce a minimum number of independent members of the Administrative Management or Supervisory Boards, at least one-third. Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution should review the intensity and frequency of on-site supervision and its relationship to off-site supervision. With several other meetings with insurance companies possible, some of these meetings may be close to be called as focused on-site inspections.