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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
This note presents the systemic risk analysis conducted for the Republic of Korea in the course of the 2019 Korea FSAP. It comprises a forward-looking solvency analysis for banks, insurers, and pension funds, a liquidity stress test for banks, and an assessment of network and interconnectedness for a wide range of financial sector entities and their ties to the real economy. Various structural characteristics of Korea’s economy and its financial system informed the features and focus for its forward-looking risk analysis. They include Korea’s strong export orientation, limited diversification, and its key role as a node in regional and international supply chains. Korea’s financial system has grown by 40 percentage points of GDP since 2013, enhancing the importance of a deep financial sector analysis as conducted through the FSAP. Mortgage insurance schemes are widely used—which was reflected in the way the risk assessment for banks was conducted. Korea’s life and non-life insurance sector is large, highly concentrated and saturated. Fintech developments keep accelerating, in terms of its Open Banking system and e-money providers. Demographic developments in Korea are among the most adverse world-wide, implying a continuous drag on demand, downward pressure on interest rates, financial firms’ income, and hence their capitalization unless they will be altering their business models.
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
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
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.
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 paper presents Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) with the Republic of Korea. The Korean authorities have continued their efforts at upgrading the prudential, legal, and supervisory framework for the financial sector, and keeping up with international standards and practices in other G20 jurisdictions. The authorities have been strengthening the system with micro and macroprudential measures against vulnerabilities, strengthening the crisis management framework, and upgrading the prudential and legal framework. The FSSA suggests moving toward a more forward-looking monitoring and systemic risk identification mechanism. The reliability of various stress tests could be augmented with advanced methods, system-wide monitoring, and testing the overall leverage related to residential properties, households’ resilience to adverse shocks, and sovereign contingent liabilities. Stronger focus is required on systemic risks emanating from securities market activities that can amplify contagion, including sudden redemption and liquidity pressures in the funds and asset management industry.
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.