The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper explores insurance as a source of financial system vulnerability. It provides a brief overview of the insurance industry and reviews the risks it faces, as well as several recent failures of insurance companies that had systemic implications. Assimilation of banking-type activities by life insurers appears to be the key systemic vulnerability. Building on this experience and the experience gained under the FSAP, the paper proposes key indicators that should be compiled and used for surveillance of financial soundness of insurance companies and the insurance sector as a whole.