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1 The Coming IFRS for Insurance Accounting Michael G. McCarter, FCAS, MAAA Vice President, AIG CAMAR, Philadelphia June 5, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The Coming IFRS for Insurance Accounting Michael G. McCarter, FCAS, MAAA Vice President, AIG CAMAR, Philadelphia June 5, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The Coming IFRS for Insurance Accounting Michael G. McCarter, FCAS, MAAA Vice President, AIG CAMAR, Philadelphia June 5, 2008

2 2 Introduction Prelude – the rise of the standards setters Prelude – the rise of the standards setters The perfect storm for international accounting standards The perfect storm for international accounting standards IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II FASB, the SEC, and you FASB, the SEC, and you EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC Conclusion: Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? Conclusion: Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? A little about GNAIE A little about GNAIE

3 3 Prelude – the rise of the standards setters Old style standards setter: FASB Old style standards setter: FASB FASB is delegated its authority to set standards for U.S. GAAP by the SEC FASB is delegated its authority to set standards for U.S. GAAP by the SEC SEC retains practical authority over some significant areas of U.S. GAAP SEC retains practical authority over some significant areas of U.S. GAAP SEC is in Washington, DC and may be influenced by Congress and the President SEC is in Washington, DC and may be influenced by Congress and the President

4 4 Prelude – the rise of the standards setters New style standards setter: (surprise) the NAIC New style standards setter: (surprise) the NAIC The NAIC had no authority to be a standards setter. It is not a regulator, but a trade association for regulators. The NAIC had no authority to be a standards setter. It is not a regulator, but a trade association for regulators. However, in the accounting codification project it took the status of insurance regulatory accounting standard setter from the states who had responsibility However, in the accounting codification project it took the status of insurance regulatory accounting standard setter from the states who had responsibility

5 5 Prelude – the rise of the standards setters The NAIC demonstrates the power of “agreeing to agree” The NAIC demonstrates the power of “agreeing to agree” It is now the most important U.S. regulatory accounting standards setter It is now the most important U.S. regulatory accounting standards setter Since it is not a part of government, it has problematic standards of due process Since it is not a part of government, it has problematic standards of due process Through the accreditation process, it can exercise influence over state governments Through the accreditation process, it can exercise influence over state governments

6 6 Prelude – the rise of the standards setters Another new style standards setter: the IASB Another new style standards setter: the IASB Descended from old IASC founded in 1973 (older than FASB) Descended from old IASC founded in 1973 (older than FASB) No official delegated authority from any government (to start with) No official delegated authority from any government (to start with) Acted with alacrity to take advantage of perceived need for international standards Acted with alacrity to take advantage of perceived need for international standards

7 7 The perfect storm Asian financial crisis 1998 Asian financial crisis 1998 Caused G8 to issue ritual call for improved accounting standards and reporting Caused G8 to issue ritual call for improved accounting standards and reporting Old IASC recognized an opportunity Old IASC recognized an opportunity Old IASC “standards” merely collected more commonly used national options for various accounting standards Old IASC “standards” merely collected more commonly used national options for various accounting standards

8 8 The perfect storm New IASC project to revise its standards to select the best, “principles-based” approach New IASC project to revise its standards to select the best, “principles-based” approach Project coincided with EU need for EU- wide accounting standards Project coincided with EU need for EU- wide accounting standards IASC reorganized itself into the IASB to meet U.S. (FASB and SEC) objections as to its process and funding IASC reorganized itself into the IASB to meet U.S. (FASB and SEC) objections as to its process and funding

9 9 The perfect storm Once the IASC/IASB had done what the U.S. said it should, the U.S. was committed to work with the IASB towards the obvious goal of a single world-wide set of high quality accounting standards Once the IASC/IASB had done what the U.S. said it should, the U.S. was committed to work with the IASB towards the obvious goal of a single world-wide set of high quality accounting standards Another example of the power of “agreeing to agree” Another example of the power of “agreeing to agree”

10 10 The perfect storm EU agrees to adopt IASB IFRS effective January 1, 2005 (even though no complete set of IFRS existed when adopted, when implemented, or even today) EU agrees to adopt IASB IFRS effective January 1, 2005 (even though no complete set of IFRS existed when adopted, when implemented, or even today) “Norwalk Agreement” in 2002 commits FASB and the IASB to work towards “convergence” of U.S. GAAP and IFRS “Norwalk Agreement” in 2002 commits FASB and the IASB to work towards “convergence” of U.S. GAAP and IFRS

11 11 The perfect storm IASB lauded itself on its “principles-based” standards that would not be subject to the abuses of the “rules-based” FASB approach IASB lauded itself on its “principles-based” standards that would not be subject to the abuses of the “rules-based” FASB approach Multiple major projects (Conceptual Framework, Revenue Recognition, Financial Statement Presentation) amount to re-building car while racing around the track Multiple major projects (Conceptual Framework, Revenue Recognition, Financial Statement Presentation) amount to re-building car while racing around the track

12 12 The perfect storm Breaking News! Breaking News! FASB, SEC no longer interested in “converging” U.S. GAAP and IFRS FASB, SEC no longer interested in “converging” U.S. GAAP and IFRS Instead they are working to have the U.S. adopt IFRS on a date certain, probably January 1, 2013 Instead they are working to have the U.S. adopt IFRS on a date certain, probably January 1, 2013 More on this later More on this later

13 13 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Old IASC had never completed an insurance contracts accounting standard Old IASC had never completed an insurance contracts accounting standard Recognized as a major need, but the new IASB could not complete an insurance accounting standard in time for the EU IFRS implementation Recognized as a major need, but the new IASB could not complete an insurance accounting standard in time for the EU IFRS implementation IASB developed IFRS 4 (Insurance Contracts Phase I) as a placeholder IASB developed IFRS 4 (Insurance Contracts Phase I) as a placeholder

14 14 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II IASB issued “Discussion Paper: Preliminary views on insurance contracts” in May 2007 IASB issued “Discussion Paper: Preliminary views on insurance contracts” in May 2007 Comments were due November 16, 2007 Comments were due November 16, 2007 FASB also issued the discussion paper with a “wraparound” asking for comments as to whether FASB should take up the insurance contracts accounting project as well FASB also issued the discussion paper with a “wraparound” asking for comments as to whether FASB should take up the insurance contracts accounting project as well

15 15 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Over 160 comment letters filed, many with serious concerns Over 160 comment letters filed, many with serious concerns Following are some of the major issues covered by the “DP” Following are some of the major issues covered by the “DP” Note: The “DP” approach is based on “principles” that have nothing to do with the ideas underlying current U.S. GAAP (or SAP either) for insurance Note: The “DP” approach is based on “principles” that have nothing to do with the ideas underlying current U.S. GAAP (or SAP either) for insurance

16 16 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Measurement of insurance liabilities is to be on a “market consistent” basis using a “current exit value” (CEV) approach Measurement of insurance liabilities is to be on a “market consistent” basis using a “current exit value” (CEV) approach CEV may not be the same as “fair value”, but to date no difference between CEV and “fair value” has been identified CEV may not be the same as “fair value”, but to date no difference between CEV and “fair value” has been identified CEV based on three “building blocks”: current estimates, time value of money, market risk and service margins CEV based on three “building blocks”: current estimates, time value of money, market risk and service margins

17 17 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Current estimates: explicit, unbiased, market-consistent, probability-weighted current estimate of contractual cash flows Current estimates: explicit, unbiased, market-consistent, probability-weighted current estimate of contractual cash flows Discount rates based on current market interest rates to apply to these cash flows Discount rates based on current market interest rates to apply to these cash flows Explicit and unbiased estimates of margins that market participants would require to bear risk (risk margin) and to provide services, if any (service margin) Explicit and unbiased estimates of margins that market participants would require to bear risk (risk margin) and to provide services, if any (service margin)

18 18 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Margins are not “entity specific” – they are to reflect a market participant, not the specific insurer being accounted for Margins are not “entity specific” – they are to reflect a market participant, not the specific insurer being accounted for Margins reflect the pooling of similar risks in a portfolio, but not the diversification benefits of other portfolios of the insurer Margins reflect the pooling of similar risks in a portfolio, but not the diversification benefits of other portfolios of the insurer Insurance liabilities should reflect their own credit standing (as assets) Insurance liabilities should reflect their own credit standing (as assets)

19 19 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Question: Liabilities don’t trade – they are settled. Why is “market-consistent” a relevant consideration for liabilities? Question: Liabilities don’t trade – they are settled. Why is “market-consistent” a relevant consideration for liabilities? Question: There is no benchmark for ever verifying the correct “market risk margin” for a liability. How does this “mark-to- unverifiable-model” add reliable information for investors? Question: There is no benchmark for ever verifying the correct “market risk margin” for a liability. How does this “mark-to- unverifiable-model” add reliable information for investors?

20 20 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Question: Insurers are obliged to settle claims in accordance with contract terms. Why should liability valuations be reduced by the “own credit stance” when the insurer cannot benefit from that haircut? Question: Insurers are obliged to settle claims in accordance with contract terms. Why should liability valuations be reduced by the “own credit stance” when the insurer cannot benefit from that haircut? Question: If we accept “market consistent” for argument’s sake, why is no diversification credit allowed when markets, rating agencies, and even solvency regulators recognize the validity of the concept in many circumstances? Question: If we accept “market consistent” for argument’s sake, why is no diversification credit allowed when markets, rating agencies, and even solvency regulators recognize the validity of the concept in many circumstances?

21 21 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Question: Why should an insurer use a “market participant” service margin lower than its actual costs that generates an artificial day one profit at inception only to reverse as the actual service costs emerge? Question: Why should an insurer use a “market participant” service margin lower than its actual costs that generates an artificial day one profit at inception only to reverse as the actual service costs emerge? Question: Why are life and non-life insurance presumed to use the same accounting treatment when no existing accounting system treats them together and the relative underwriting and investment risks are very different? Question: Why are life and non-life insurance presumed to use the same accounting treatment when no existing accounting system treats them together and the relative underwriting and investment risks are very different?

22 22 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Question: Why is the whole discussion focused on balance sheets when management and investors are at least equally concerned with performance measurement (notably for non-life underwriting results and combined ratios)? Question: Why is the whole discussion focused on balance sheets when management and investors are at least equally concerned with performance measurement (notably for non-life underwriting results and combined ratios)? Question: Why is there no plan for serious testing of these proposals before simply requiring them for one of the world’s major industries? Question: Why is there no plan for serious testing of these proposals before simply requiring them for one of the world’s major industries?

23 23 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Question: Why allow Day One Gains on insurance contracts when there has been no release from risk and the services promised have not been provided? Question: Why allow Day One Gains on insurance contracts when there has been no release from risk and the services promised have not been provided? Insurance Working Group met in April 2008 to begin providing the IASB with its advice on these questions Insurance Working Group met in April 2008 to begin providing the IASB with its advice on these questions

24 24 IASB Insurance Contracts Phase II Industry wants increased field testing and communications Industry wants increased field testing and communications May cause exposure draft to be pushed from 2009 to 2010 or later May cause exposure draft to be pushed from 2009 to 2010 or later Comments and final standard 2010 or later Comments and final standard 2010 or later Will set insurance reporting framework for decades Will set insurance reporting framework for decades

25 25 FASB, the SEC, and you “I only do business in the U.S., so I don’t have to worry about the IASB IFRS for insurance contracts” “I only do business in the U.S., so I don’t have to worry about the IASB IFRS for insurance contracts” Incorrect. FASB and the SEC are now working to replace U.S. GAAP with IFRS Incorrect. FASB and the SEC are now working to replace U.S. GAAP with IFRS “But I’m a mutual and don’t use U.S. GAAP” “But I’m a mutual and don’t use U.S. GAAP” What happens to SAP if U.S. GAAP disappears? What happens to SAP if U.S. GAAP disappears?

26 26 FASB, the SEC, and you FASB will reduce itself from 7 to 5 members as of July 1, 2008 FASB will reduce itself from 7 to 5 members as of July 1, 2008 The FASB Chair will gain agenda setting authority at that time The FASB Chair will gain agenda setting authority at that time FASB will decide whether to participate in the Insurance Contracts Phase II project during the third quarter of 2008 FASB will decide whether to participate in the Insurance Contracts Phase II project during the third quarter of 2008 The IASB wants FASB’s participation The IASB wants FASB’s participation

27 27 FASB, the SEC, and you SEC Proposed Rule released July 2, 2007 SEC Proposed Rule released July 2, 2007 “Acceptance from Foreign Private Issuers of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards without Reconciliation to U.S. GAAP” “Acceptance from Foreign Private Issuers of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards without Reconciliation to U.S. GAAP” Adopted! Reconciliations no longer required Adopted! Reconciliations no longer required

28 28 FASB, the SEC, and you SEC Concept Release on August 7, 2007 SEC Concept Release on August 7, 2007 “Concept Release on Allowing U.S. Issuers to Prepare Financial Statements in Accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards” “Concept Release on Allowing U.S. Issuers to Prepare Financial Statements in Accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards” Decision expected in the near future Decision expected in the near future Might be affected by potential for U.S. switch to IFRS Might be affected by potential for U.S. switch to IFRS

29 29 FASB, the SEC, and you Semi-annual joint IASB/FASB meeting in April 2008 Semi-annual joint IASB/FASB meeting in April 2008 Discussed “mandatory adoption of IFRS in all major capital markets” by 2013 Discussed “mandatory adoption of IFRS in all major capital markets” by 2013 Considered what accounting standards should be completed before mid-2011 “quiet period” starts Considered what accounting standards should be completed before mid-2011 “quiet period” starts

30 30 FASB, the SEC, and you Most important issues include Revenue Recognition, Fair Value Measurement, and Financial Statement Presentation (not Insurance Contracts) Most important issues include Revenue Recognition, Fair Value Measurement, and Financial Statement Presentation (not Insurance Contracts) But IASB continues to work on Insurance Contracts project since they are in the middle of it and they have no real current Insurance Contracts standard But IASB continues to work on Insurance Contracts project since they are in the middle of it and they have no real current Insurance Contracts standard

31 31 FASB, the SEC, and you SEC Chair Cox now chairs IOSCO Technical Committee SEC Chair Cox now chairs IOSCO Technical Committee Developing revised governance structure for IASB to give worldwide securities regulators (including the SEC) a role Developing revised governance structure for IASB to give worldwide securities regulators (including the SEC) a role Chairman Cox appears to see replacement of U.S. GAAP with IFRS as a major “legacy” of his chairmanship Chairman Cox appears to see replacement of U.S. GAAP with IFRS as a major “legacy” of his chairmanship

32 32 FASB, the SEC, and you U.S. GAAP likely to be replaced by IFRS by 2013 (with option for sooner) U.S. GAAP likely to be replaced by IFRS by 2013 (with option for sooner) Most likely there will be a new IFRS for Insurance Contracts for implementation by that time Most likely there will be a new IFRS for Insurance Contracts for implementation by that time If not, EU insurers may develop their own “improved” insurance contracts standard for use with Solvency II If not, EU insurers may develop their own “improved” insurance contracts standard for use with Solvency II

33 33 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC As the EU adopted (mostly) the IASB’s IFRS to unify accounting standards across its member states, it is now adopting the Solvency II directive to unify insurance regulation As the EU adopted (mostly) the IASB’s IFRS to unify accounting standards across its member states, it is now adopting the Solvency II directive to unify insurance regulation Solvency II is designed around the three pillars of capital requirements, regulatory examinations, and disclosure requirements that were pioneered for banks under Basel II Solvency II is designed around the three pillars of capital requirements, regulatory examinations, and disclosure requirements that were pioneered for banks under Basel II Solvency II is designed to provide EU insurers with competitive regulatory advantages over non-EU insurers Solvency II is designed to provide EU insurers with competitive regulatory advantages over non-EU insurers

34 34 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC Solvency II has two required capital calculations, the Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) and the Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR) Solvency II has two required capital calculations, the Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) and the Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR) SCR tends to be based on internal models that use concepts similar to the IASB’s CEV concept SCR tends to be based on internal models that use concepts similar to the IASB’s CEV concept SCR is intended to represent the amount of capital required to make the probability of failure 0.5% or 1 in 200 years. SCR is intended to represent the amount of capital required to make the probability of failure 0.5% or 1 in 200 years. MCR is intended to be a simpler formula approach MCR is intended to be a simpler formula approach

35 35 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC Issue: Should solvency measurements and financial reporting measurements be the same? Issue: Should solvency measurements and financial reporting measurements be the same? Not necessarily – “different horses for different courses” Not necessarily – “different horses for different courses” Accounting makes entities comparable across industries, while solvency focuses on insurance Accounting makes entities comparable across industries, while solvency focuses on insurance Solvency considers cat exposure, accounting only cats that have happened Solvency considers cat exposure, accounting only cats that have happened

36 36 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC Issue: Should equally secure insurers be treated the same way, no matter where they are located? Issue: Should equally secure insurers be treated the same way, no matter where they are located? Yes, if you are interested in market competition to serve consumers Yes, if you are interested in market competition to serve consumers EU Solvency II may disadvantage U.S. insurers by claiming U.S. insurance regulation does not meet their standards EU Solvency II may disadvantage U.S. insurers by claiming U.S. insurance regulation does not meet their standards Implication: Less diversification credit for U.S. insurers Implication: Less diversification credit for U.S. insurers

37 37 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC The IAIS is developing international standards and best practices for insurance regulation The IAIS is developing international standards and best practices for insurance regulation It appears to be largely modeling its approach on that of the EU It appears to be largely modeling its approach on that of the EU The NAIC participates on IAIS committees The NAIC participates on IAIS committees The NAIC may be helping to build standards that will come back to haunt it The NAIC may be helping to build standards that will come back to haunt it

38 38 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC No country but the U.S. has a separate regulatory accounting system for insurance No country but the U.S. has a separate regulatory accounting system for insurance Other countries use general purpose accounting for insurance regulatory purposes Other countries use general purpose accounting for insurance regulatory purposes Thus, the IAIS has taken an active interest in the IASB insurance contracts project as likely to affect reports used by their members Thus, the IAIS has taken an active interest in the IASB insurance contracts project as likely to affect reports used by their members

39 39 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC The IAIS develops comments on various IASB proposals The IAIS develops comments on various IASB proposals The NAIC provides comments to the IAIS to influence the development of those comments The NAIC provides comments to the IAIS to influence the development of those comments The NAIC is being encouraged to also comment directly to the IASB since the NAIC represents regulators of the world’s largest insurance marketplace The NAIC is being encouraged to also comment directly to the IASB since the NAIC represents regulators of the world’s largest insurance marketplace

40 40 EU Solvency II, the IAIS, and the NAIC When FASB and the IASB agree on an insurance contracts accounting standard, that standard will become the de facto global insurance regulatory standard, even if it confuses solvency regulation When FASB and the IASB agree on an insurance contracts accounting standard, that standard will become the de facto global insurance regulatory standard, even if it confuses solvency regulation Accordingly, the pressure for U.S. insurance regulators to adopt it will be intense Accordingly, the pressure for U.S. insurance regulators to adopt it will be intense Therefore, it is important to fix the IASB proposal now if you’re going to be unhappy with it as either a general purpose or regulatory accounting standard Therefore, it is important to fix the IASB proposal now if you’re going to be unhappy with it as either a general purpose or regulatory accounting standard

41 41 Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? Standard setters not responsible to anyone save themselves have increasing roles in the global marketplace Standard setters not responsible to anyone save themselves have increasing roles in the global marketplace The IASB has embraced the untested “mark to model” CEV version of fair value as the right means of accounting for insurance liabilities, even though they’ve made no attempt to verify that it is an effective accounting approach for insurance The IASB has embraced the untested “mark to model” CEV version of fair value as the right means of accounting for insurance liabilities, even though they’ve made no attempt to verify that it is an effective accounting approach for insurance

42 42 Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? What is the value of “market consistency” when insurance liabilities do not trade? What is the value of “market consistency” when insurance liabilities do not trade? Why is no attention paid to key management measures of non-life insurance performance such as underwriting profit or combined ratio? Why is no attention paid to key management measures of non-life insurance performance such as underwriting profit or combined ratio? Why is there no plan for testing and validating these proposals before implementing them? Why is there no plan for testing and validating these proposals before implementing them?

43 43 Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? The result of the Insurance Contracts Phase II project will be coming to financial statements near you, probably through U.S. adoption of IFRS to replace U.S. GAAP The result of the Insurance Contracts Phase II project will be coming to financial statements near you, probably through U.S. adoption of IFRS to replace U.S. GAAP When that happens, it is likely insurance regulatory accounting will move the same way When that happens, it is likely insurance regulatory accounting will move the same way

44 44 Brave new world, or the Emperor’s new clothes? Insurance solvency regulation need not follow insurance accounting standards, but right now they are running in parallel Insurance solvency regulation need not follow insurance accounting standards, but right now they are running in parallel The CEV approach to liability valuation has serious issues when applied to solvency The CEV approach to liability valuation has serious issues when applied to solvency If you care, comment! Now is the time! If you care, comment! Now is the time!

45 45 GNAIE Strategies Support development of a single set of high quality international accounting standards for insurance contracts Support development of a single set of high quality international accounting standards for insurance contracts Work to inform and educate interested parties and encourage active participation and comment on these issues Work to inform and educate interested parties and encourage active participation and comment on these issues Work to build bridges and encourage common action to better communicate the importance of these issues Work to build bridges and encourage common action to better communicate the importance of these issues

46 46 GNAIE Strategies Example GNAIE action: Provided 5 discussion papers to IASB IWG after its April meeting. The topics were: Example GNAIE action: Provided 5 discussion papers to IASB IWG after its April meeting. The topics were: Settlement Value – Life and Non-Life Settlement Value – Life and Non-Life Field Testing Field Testing Day One Profit Day One Profit Risk Margins Risk Margins

47 47 News of significant international accounting standards and solvency regulation developments News of significant international accounting standards and solvency regulation developments Comment letters submitted by GNAIE to various bodies Comment letters submitted by GNAIE to various bodies Reports and studies prepared by or on behalf of GNAIE in regard to international accounting and solvency issues Reports and studies prepared by or on behalf of GNAIE in regard to international accounting and solvency issues

48 48 GNAIE Member Companies ACE ACE AIG AIG Allstate Allstate AXIS Capital AXIS Capital Genworth Financial Genworth Financial The Hartford The Hartford Lincoln Financial Lincoln Financial Manulife Financial Manulife Financial MetLife MetLife New York Life New York Life PartnerRe Ltd. PartnerRe Ltd. Principal Financial Principal Financial Prudential Financial Prudential Financial RenaissanceRe RenaissanceRe Sun Life Financial Sun Life Financial Travelers Travelers XL Capital XL Capital


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