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Actuarial Bloopers and other interesting challenges……. John Wylie CEO, ING Life Taiwan. Synopsis.

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Actuaries are intelligent but do they have common sense? This presentation talks about some “actuarial bloopers”. It asks the question: “Who was to blame?” Was it the Actuary? The CEO perhaps. The Board must surely take some responsibility. Right? Where was the regulator? Risks are created or inherited? How do we better prevent creation of outrageous risks? How do we manage the inherited ones? And what about the rest of the company? Do they manage risks?

This presentation makes reference to mistakes in Poland, USA, Europe, Australia and uses mistakes made in Taiwan as detailed examples. Actuaries in most countries have made big risk mistakes. Some have cost several hundred million dollars! Management of big risks is explored from a non-technical, practical perspective.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

The presenter john wylie
The Presenter – John Wylie

John - an actuary (Macquarie 1970, FIA 1974); worked in most areas of life insurance; worked in funds management, financial planning; was director of non-life co, bank, pension fund; with ING since 1992 – GM Life, Australia, 1992-97; CEO, Poland, 97-00; MD Australia, 00-03; Regional GM, Hong Kong, 03-06; CEO, Taiwan, 06-?? Biggest challenges: singing before 2200 as Elvis in Seoul w Alex Du; and in Beijing before 2700 w Fei-Fei. General Management is easy!

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 1 europe annuities mortality
Blooper no 1: Europe: Annuities: Mortality

  • Pension schemes in Europe generous

  • Lifetime (indexed) annuities common

  • Annuities often insured.

  • Too little allowance for mortality improvement

  • Cost: probably EUR Billions

  • Problem: How do you balance being prudent, being too conservative, being fair to customers, being market driven; being too aggressive?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 2 usa disability policies claims
Blooper no 2: USA: Disability Policies: Claims

  • USA wrote large volumes of guaranteed premium, guaranteed benefit disability policies in 1980s and early 1990s.

  • All but one co made losses.

  • Increasing claims incidence:

    • portfolio aged

    • mortality improved

    • recession in 1990s

    • fraud increased

  • Cost? Billions $$$$ ???

  • How do you avoid these problems? How is it good for customers?

  • Are HIH and FAI relevant here?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 3 poland endowment interest
Blooper no 3: Poland: Endowment: Interest

  • 1997 5 year bond rate 23%pa

  • Long term endowment guarantee 5%pa.

  • In Spain rates plummeted

  • In Poland blooper limited by reducing guarantee to 3.5%

  • By 2000 rates down to 13%pa for 10 year bonds

  • 2006 rates were 4%pa.

  • Cost? Probably not too great because of early action.

  • What are the interest rate issues for long term guaranteed policies?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 4 australia guarantees mismatch
Blooper no 4: Australia: Guarantees: Mismatch

  • 1980s – investment policies issued

  • Capital plus declared interest guaranteed.

  • Assets invested in bonds, shares and real estate.

  • 1987 crash – assets fell but liabilities remained

  • Liabilities short; assets long

  • Cost? City Mutual (est. 1878) absorbed by MLC.

  • How could the policies have been issued AND the companies protected?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 5 gm ford et al pensions
Blooper no 5: GM, Ford et al: Pensions

  • Actuaries have advised on pension funds for decades

  • Fund deficits in some cases $$billions.

  • How has this been allowed to happen?

  • What is the role and responsibility of the actuary?

  • What is the responsibility of SEC? And NYSE?

  • What about the auditors?

  • Note: Alaska suing Mercers for $1.8bn for part of pension deficit.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Blooper no 6 high interest guarantees
Blooper no 6: High interest guarantees

  • Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan

  • Whole life with guarantees (way) above current interest rate levels

  • Japan solution: government allowed reduction in guarantees.

  • Korea: high margin business allowed for a period of years.

  • China: government bailouts

  • Taiwan: ?

  • Cost to industry? Many billions $$$

  • How valuable is actuarial advice?

  • What are the issues for the companies, for the policyholders, for the government and the community in the “Japan solution”, the Korea solution”, the “China solution”? What other solutions could there be?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Taiwan high lifetime guarantees
Taiwan: High Lifetime Guarantees

  • Interest rates falling in late 1990s. Around 6-7%

  • Whole life guaranteed rates 6.5%, 8%, 10%

  • How did this happen?

  • What are the two key problems?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

How do you manage these problems
How do you manage these problems?

  • P&L management

    • Reduce the yield gap

      • Invest more in shares

      • Invest more in real estate

      • Invest in foreign bonds and do not hedge the currency risk

  • Balance sheet management

    • Reduce the risk

      • Invest in foreign bonds for duration and hedge back to TWD

      • Inverse floaters (pay more interest when rates fall and less when rise)

      • Strips or zero coupon bonds

      • Swaps to convert floating rate mortgages

        to fixed.

      • Reinsurance

      • Claims management

      • Active conversion programmes

How big the problem is depends on your point of view

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Where does everyone stand
Where does everyone stand?

  • Local companies managing P&L

    • Equities investments

    • Real estate

    • Foreign investments unhedged

    • High volumes of profitable but higher risk new business.

  • ING managing risk

    • Long bonds (at low local rates)

    • Foreign bonds fully hedged

    • Other investments to lengthen duration

  • Regulator?

    • Concerned about both.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Solvency ii and ifrs
Solvency II and IFRS

  • European cos have to move toward S2 and use IFRS

  • US companies moving toward these

  • Taiwan regulator has announced move to S2 and IFRS.

  • Current Taiwan accounting is similar to US GAAP

  • What are the likely consequences of moving to S2 and IFRS?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Local us gaap accounting issue
Local/US GAAP Accounting Issue

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Current industry losses and equity
Current Industry Losses and Equity

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

S2 new understanding of risk
S2 = New Understanding of Risk

  • With understanding comes capital requirement

  • How much?

    Taiwan RBC =100

    Minimum =200

    Safe =250

    Market base ~ 300

    EU Min =400

    EU Minimum “safe”=600

    [Please note – very rough guesses]

How predictable

is business?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Taiwan and health insurance
Taiwan and Health Insurance

  • Many countries – not just Taiwan

  • 1990s and early 2000s guaranteed premiums and benefits

  • Limited premium term generally 20 years – lifetime benefits

  • What are the risks?

  • Increasing morbidity

  • Fraud

  • Poor NHS claims management

  • Interest rates

  • Culture of paying all claims

Is health care affordable?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Where will the additional capital come from
Where will the additional capital come from?

  • Foreign acquisitions and injections?

  • Bank injections and acquisitions?

  • Profitable business margins

  • Government

  • Everyone must understand the problem first.

  • What are other possible solutions other than more capital?

Can you correct the problem?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Risk profile under ec
Risk Profile under EC

Actuarial RM








(Interest Rate)




(Real Estate)







資產 - 負債風險

(Asset-Liability Risk)


(Hedging Programs)


(Default Spreads Counterparty)

必備的經濟資本 = 在一個設定的風險容忍程度內準備足夠的資本以涵蓋潛在的損失

Required Economic Capital = sufficient surplus capital to cover potential losses at a given risk tolerance level.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Risk in the rest of the business
Risk in the rest of the business

  • Operational risk

  • IT risk

  • FEC risk

  • Compliance risk

  • Reputation risk

  • HR risk

  • Regulatory risk

  • Who manages these?

Risk can occur everywhere.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

E&Y’s Risk Management Model

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Ing s 3 lines of defence
ING’s 3 Lines of Defence

Adopting Three Lines of Defence Model

1st Line of Defence

2nd Line of Defence

3rd Line of Defence

External Auditor


ING’s Governance Framework

Control & Finance

Business Lines

Managementcontrol activities

Corporate Audit Services

Legal & Compliance

Credit Risk Management

Market Risk Management

Operational Risk Management

Insurance Risk Management

Information Risk Management

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Change management
Change Management

  • Clear understanding of corporate direction and goals

  • Clear roles and responsibility

  • Key is clarity and understanding

  • Simple and frequent communication

  • Good project management

  • Alignment of interests through remuneration and goals

  • Encourage and reward cross function teamwork to break silos.

  • Create an environment in which everyone can excel

  • Ensure everyone has fun!





ING Life Taiwan – Market Research


  • 3 simple corporate goals

  • 3 individual goals

  • Excludes things out of management control

  • Alignment with strategy and priorities

  • Alignment with communication

  • Weighted by input possibilities

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

What can be achieved ing life taiwan
What can be achieved? ING Life Taiwan

  • New premium growth 2002-2007 in TWD

  • Total premium 2002-2007 in TWD

  • VNB 2002-2007 in TWD

  • Operational expenses 2002-2007 in TWD

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Ing life taiwan and communication is working
ING Life Taiwan: And communication is working

WPC results

One of the biggest risks is always people risk.

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

The ultimate in protection
The Ultimate in Protection?

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Summary managing business risks
Summary : Managing Business Risks

  • Think – about downside when designing products

  • Be cautious about giving long term guarantees

  • Really understand risk problems –use your head more than your computer!

  • Manage both sides of balance sheet

  • Use every avenue available

  • Set priorities – and all agree them

  • Set targets

  • “Risk Management is everyone’s responsibility” – culture.

  • If a major problem arises (or is inherited or acquired) think carefully about how to overcome the problem – sell it, reinsure it, manage the assets, manage the liabilities, grow out of it……

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research


Sometimes risk management requires simple lateral thinking

When someone tells you there is no risk – be suspicious

Never think you are important!

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Thank you!

If you want a job in Asia please contact ING!

Charlene Stenton Dozey

[email protected]

If you want a job in Taiwan contact me;

John Wylie, [email protected] or

Stacy Liu, [email protected]

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

USA: Disability Policies: Claims

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research

Increase tsr

TSR =f { }



Increase TSR


1. Understand

our customers

3. Increase



VNB growth

6. Reduce

expense ratios

EV growth

4. Develop




2. Increase



Expense reduction

  • Managing business risk in all we do:

    • Ops/IT, Finance, Marketing, Product Development

    • Compliance, ORM, SOX, CAS

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research


  • Change is not optional

  • Pro-active or Re-active?

  • We need to undergo certain changes …

  • … ahead of the changing environment …

… to gain competitive advantage

We can control change …

… or change will control us

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research


  • Everyone knows and understands –

    • Vision

    • Strategy

    • MTP

  • Everyone is headed in the same direction, and there are no “anchors”

ING Life Taiwan – Market Research