Showing posts with label pitfalls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pitfalls. Show all posts

Jul 14, 2010

Solvency II Project Management Pitfalls

When you - just like me - wonder how Solvency (II) projects are being managed, join the club! It's crazy...., dozens of actuaries, IT professionals, finance experts, bookkeepers accountants, risk managers, project and program managers, compliance officers and a lot of other semi-solvency 'Disaster tourists' are flown in to join budget-unlimited S-II Projects.

On top of it all, nobody seems to understand each other, it's a  confusion of tongues..... 

Now that the European Parliament have finally agreed upon  the Solvency II Framework Directive in April 2009, everything should look ready for a successful S-II implementation before the end of 2012. However, nothing is farther from the truth.....

Solve(ncy) Questions in Time
The end of 2012 might seem a long way of...
While time is ticking, all kind of questions pop up like:
  • How to build an ORSA system and who owns it?
  • What's the relation between ORSA and other systems or models, like the Internal Model
  • Where do the actuarial models and systems fit in?
  • What are financial, actuarial, investing and 'managing' parameters, what distinguishes them, who owns them and who's authorised and competent to change them?
  • How to connect all IT-systems to deliver on a frequent basis what S-II reporting needs......?
  • How to build a consistent S-II IT framework, while the outcomes from QIS-5 (6,7,...) are (still) not clear and more 'Qisses' seem to come ahead?
  • Etc, etc, etc, etc^10

The Solvency Delusion
Answering the above questions is not the only challenge. A real 'Solvency Hoax' and other pitfalls seem on their way....

It appears that most of the actuarial work has been done by calculating the MCR and SCR in 'Pillar I'.

It's scaring to observe that the 'communis opinio'  now seems to be that the main part of the S-II project is completed. Project members feel relieved and the 'Solvency II Balance Sheet' seems (almost) ready!

Don't rejoice..., it's a delusion!  The main work in Pillar II (ORSA) and Pillar III (Reporting, transparency) still has to come and - at this moment - only few project managers know how to move from Pillar I to Pillar II.

Compliancy First, a pitfall?
With the Quantitative Impact Study (QIS-5) on its way (due date: October 2010) every insurer is focusing on becoming a well capitalized Solvency-II compliant financial institution.

There is nothing wrong with this compliance goal, but 'just' becoming 'solvency compliant' is a real pitfall and unfortunately not enough to survive in the years after 2010.

Risk Optimization
Sometimes, in the fever of becoming compliant, an essential part called "Risk Optimization" seems to be left out, as most managers only have an eye for 'direct capital effects' on the balance sheet and finishing 'on time', whatever the consequences......

Risk Optimization is - as we know - one of the most efficient methods to maximize company and client value. Here's a limited (check)list of possible Risk Optimization measurements:

1. Risk Avoidance
- Prevent Risk
   • Health programs
   • Health checks
   • Certification (ISO, etc)
   • Risk education programs
   • High-risk transactions
      (identify,eliminate, price)
   • Fraud detection
      (identify,eliminate, price)
   • Adverse selection
      (identify, manage, price)

- Adjust policy conditions
   • Exclude or Limit Risk  
   • Restrict underwriter
      (excess, term, etc)

- Run-off portfolios/products

2. Damage control
- Emergency Plans (tested)
- Claims Service, Repair service
- Reintegration services

3. Risk Reduction
- Diversification

- Asset Mix, ALM
- Decrease exposure term
- Risk Matching
- Decrease mismatch
- Outsourcing, Leasing

4. Risk Sharing
- Reinsurance (XL,SL,SQ)
- Securitization, Pooling
- Derivatives, Hedging
- Geographical spread
- Tax, Bonus policy

5. Risk Pricing
- Exposure rating, Experience rating
- Credibility rating, Community rating
- Risk profile rating

6. Equity financing
- IPO, Initial Public Offering
- Share sale, Share placement
- Capital injections

Solvency-II Project Oversight
Just to remind you of the enormous financial impact potential of 'Risk Optimization' and to keep your eye on a 'helicopter view level' with regard to Solvency-II projects and achievements, here's a (non-complete but hopefully helpful) visual oversight of what has to be done before the end of 2012.....

(Download big picture JPG, PDF)

Be aware that all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Key Control Indicators (KCIs) must be well defined and allocated. Please keep also in mind that one person’s KRI can be another’s performance indicator(KPI) and a third person’s control-effectiveness indicator.

Value Added Actions
As actuaries, we're in the position of letting 'Risk Optimization' work.
We're the 'connecting officers' in the Solvency Army, with the potential of convincing management and other professionals to take the right value added actions in time.

Don't be bluffed as an actuary, take stand in your Solvency II project and add real value to your company and its clients.

Related Links:

- A Comparison of Solvency Systems: US and EU
- UK Life solvency falls under qis-5
- Determine capital add-on
- Reducing r-w assets to maximize profitability and capital ratios
- Risk: Who is who?
- Balanced scorecard including KRIs (2010)
- Solvency II, Piller II & III
- Risk Adjusted Return On Risk Adjusted Capital (RARORAC)
- ERM: “Managing the Invisible" (pdf; 2010)
- Unlocking the mystery of the risk framework around ORSA
- Risk  based Performance: KPI,KRI,KCI
- Risk of risk indicators (ppt;2004)
- Defining Risk Appetite
- Risk appetite ING KPI/KRI
- Board fit for S II?
- How to compute fund vaR?
- Technical Provisions in Solvency II
- Insurers should use derivatives to manage risk under Solvency II 
- Solvency Regulation and Contract Pricing in the Insurance Industry
- Overview and comparison of risk-based capital standards 
- Solvency II IBM
- Reinsurance: Munich Re  , Reinsurance solvency II

Apr 25, 2009

Job Application Interview

Most actuaries don't have to apply for a job....

This apparent advantage could turn out to be a disadvantage later in our career, when we suffer from an 'application experience gap'.

Anyway... Do you recognize the flabbergasted feeling that occurs when, after a 'splendid' job interview, you come home with a positive feeling and the day after you are rejected?

Although you thought you performed well in the interview, somewhere, somehow, you missed the boat.

What went wrong?

Well, apart from the general pitfalls in a job interview and the trivial explanations of a rejection, most probably things went wrong due to lack of proper communication.

Probably, when you're having an interview, you'll take notes.
Because you're focused on getting the job, you're inclined to (only) write down the positive aspects of the job and the conversation.

This will definitely give you a biased view on the outcome of the interview. You simply miss or underestimate the minor or negative remarks in the interview.

How to solve this?

This is what you can do to get a more realistic idea about the outcome of the interview.

  • Listen
    First of all, make sure you listen well.

  • Take Notes
    Be careful not just to write down your personally important or spectacular issues (e.g salary, benefits, car, etc), but especially note (and write down!) small remarks, advices or 'used adjectives' of the interviewer.

  • Split in Negatives and Positives
    Split your note paper in left and right, and put the positive issues (the Positives) on one side and the negative issues (the Negatives) on the other side.

  • Manage the Negatives
    Make sure to write down every single negative issue or negative adjective, no matter how small. Don't ignore these Negatives. By questioning, make sure you understand them right and manage them one by one. If you're not able to get those negatives from the table or to put them in quarantine, they might kill you in the end without you realizing it. So:

    Manage the Negatives instead of counting the Positives

  • Feedback
    At the end of the conversation ask for feedback and check by asking the interviewer to summarize your Positives and Negatives. If any Negatives are left, handle them with care right there.

  • Don't fake
    Don't try to reason away negatives that are clear facts. If that would imply a rejection, be happy, because you are not qualified for this job and therefor wouldn't be happy in this job as well.

Evaluating an interview is not simply balancing Positives with Negatives. Even a single Negative can screw it up.

Anyway, this Positives/Negatives Method is not only applicable in case of a job interview, but can be used in every "beauty parade", contract negotiation or proposal you try to defend.

Next time, with a positive attitude, keep your 'sixth sense' on the potential Negatives and manage them!