Feb 6, 2011

Solvency II: Standard or Internal Model?

Solvency II is entering the critical phase.Time is running out!

But...., as a wise proverb states:

"When The Actuaries Get Tough,
The Tough get Actuaries"

However, the market for actuarial resources is limited and Solvency II Actuaries that  combine strategic and technical knowledge with 'common sense' are like  white ravens.

In the case of Solvency II, actuaries and models are moving forward in a particular way.

Standard Model
Originally, the 'standard model' was foreseen as a simple model for small and mid-size insurers (apart from very small insurers that were excluded). Big insurers, with more developed actuarial models, larger scale and more resources, were expected to work out a more sophisticated 'internal model'.

As the Solvency II Time Pressure Cooker gets up steam, things start turning.

Small and mid-size insurers found out that the 'standard model' was highly inefficient and the wrong instrument to steer adequately on risk management and to determine adequate solvency levels in their company.

Just because of their limited size and product selection, small and mid-size insurers often already have a well tuned risk management system in place and implemented throughout the organization. The manager, actuary (being the risk manager as well) and CFO of such companies therefore have enough time to develop a formal Solvency II 'internal model' that could be easily implemented throughout their organization.

Internal Model
Quit the opposite happens in the world of big insurers.

Big insurers coordinated Solvency II at Holding level and started to challenge their business-units around 2009 to develop and implement Solvency II programs on basis of an 'internal model'.

Collecting homework at the Holding in 2010, it became clear that a lot of technical issues in the models were still unclear. Moreover, models were not integrated (= condition)  in the business and counting up several 'internal models' showed up several consolidated inconsistencies. 

The complexity of developing a consistent risk model turned out to strong. Some big insurers are now considering to fall back on the 'standard model' (or partial model) before it's too late: the shortest errors are the best.

Looking back it's not surprising that big insurers need more time to operationalize a fine tuned risk model. It took specialist Munich Re 10 years to implement an internal model.

This development is also an indication that some big insurers are strongly over-sized. In order to keep up with the speed of the market, big insurers have to be split up into a manageable and market-fit size.

Related Links:

- Surviving Solvency II (2010)
- The influence of Solvency II on an insurer’s strategic policy
- White Ravens and Black Swans (Math Fun)

1 comment:

  1. In a recent Solvency II conference the FSA said that calibration of the standard model by individual firms was leading to more complexity and subtlety in their calculations – somewhat defeating the purpose of the standard model.