Stress Test

Showing posts with label Stress Test. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stress Test. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

EIOPA publishes the results of the 2019 Occupational Pensions Stress Test




 The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published the results of its 2019 Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provisions (IORPs) Stress Test. This is a crucial, biennial exercise to assess the resilience and potential vulnerabilities of the European Defined Benefit (DB) and Defined Contribution (DC) pension sector, tailored to the specificities of the diverse European pension sector and its potential impact on financial stability. For the first time, this European stress test exercise covered the analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors for IORPs.
In its 2019 exercise, EIOPA applied an adverse market scenario, characterised by a sudden reassessment of risk premia and shocks to interest rates on short maturities, resulting in increased yields and widening of credit spreads. That adverse market scenario was applied to the end-2018 'baseline' balance sheet of a representative sample of European Economic Area (EEA) IORPs. In the baseline, those IORPs were underfunded by EUR 41 billion on aggregate, which translates into 4% of their liabilities, according to the common methodology.
The adverse market scenario would have led to substantial aggregate shortfalls of EUR 180 billion according to national methodologies and EUR 216 billion following the stress test's common methodology. Under the assumptions of the common methodology, the shortfalls in the adverse scenario would have triggered aggregate benefit reductions of EUR 173 billion and sponsoring undertakings would have to provide financial support of EUR 49 billion. In the 2019 exercise, EIOPA employed an extended cash flow analysis, which provided important insights into the stress effects in terms of timing: IORPs' financial situation would be heavily affected in the short term, leading to substantial strains on sponsoring undertakings within a few years after the shock and resulting in potential long-term effects on the retirement income of members and beneficiaries over decades (should the short-term effects become permanent).
Assessing the potential conjoint investment behaviours of IORPs after the stress event, EIOPA observed an expected tendency to re-balance to pre-stress investment allocations within 12 months after the shock. That may indicate counter-cyclical aspects of the expected investment behaviour, yet would also come at a risk.
The majority of IORPs in the sample indicated having taken appropriate steps to identify sustainability factors and ESG risks for their investment decisions, which is important for an effective implementation of the IORP II Directive, yet only 30% of them have processes in place to manage ESG risks. Further, only 19% of the IORPs in the sample assess the impact of ESG factors on investments' risk and returns. The preparedness of IORPs to integrate sustainability factors is widely dispersed and seems correlated to how advanced national frameworks were.
Matching the participating IORPs' investment information with Eurostat's greenhouse gas emission statistics by business sectors, indicates a relatively high carbon footprint, compared to the average EU economy, of the equity investments and, concentrated in a few Member States, of the debt investments.
In total, 19 countries participated in the exercise, covering more than 60% of the national DB and 50% of the national DC sectors in terms of assets – in most countries. In total 176 IORPs participated, thereof 99 DB IORPs and 77 DC IORPs.
EIOPA will follow-up on the findings and analyse in more depth the investment behaviour of IORPs, in particular in the persistently ultra-low and negative interest rate environment. To do so, EIOPA will make use of the significantly improved pension reporting from 2020. Going forward, EIOPA wants to further improve its analytical tool set for stress testing IORPs, extending the horizontal approach and with that assessing the common exposures and vulnerabilities of the DB and DC sectors together. 
Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA, said: 'Long-term obligations and long investment horizons arguably require IORPs to consider ESG factors and enable IORPs to sustain short-term volatility and market downturns for longer periods than other financial institutions.
The supervisory monitoring and the applied supervisory tools need to be capable of detecting adverse market trends and market developments that can have long-term negative effects.'
For more information, visit the dedicated webpage or read the factsheet.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

EIOPA’s stress test confirms strength of the European insurance industry




In response to the results of the 2018 insurance stress test carried out by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), Olav Jones, deputy director general of Insurance Europe, commented:
“Insurance Europe is pleased to see that the 2018 stress test exercise confirms the strength of Europe’s insurance industry with a baseline SCR coverage over 200% and Assets over Liabilities (AoL) ratio of 109%. The purpose of this test is to provide information on financial stability under adverse market developments. EIOPA chose in fact very extreme scenarios, for example the yield curve down scenario includes an interest rate which is equivalent to assuming zero European growth for the next 100 years. The results confirm that, even under the very extreme scenarios applied, the industry would pose no concerns over their ability to pay claims, with the overall AoL ratio remaining above 106% for even the worst scenario.”

It is important to recognise that the regulatory framework for the insurance sector, Solvency II, is already a comprehensive risk-based system which sets conservative capital requirements by covering all the risks that insurers are exposed to. These capital requirements are based on stress scenarios applied to assets/liabilities and calibrated with extreme 1-in-200 year type events and are publicly reported. Therefore, the post-stress SCR ratios reported in the stress test represent the impact of an extreme stress on an extreme stress. Even on this basis the industry is shown to be very resilient.

Friday, 14 December 2018

EIOPA announces results of the 2018 Insurance Stress Test



The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published today the results of its 2018 and fourth Stress Test for the European insurance sector. This year's exercise assessed the participating insurers' resilience to the following three severe but plausible scenarios:

  • A yield curve up shock combined with lapse and provisions deficiency shocks, which means there is a sudden and sizeable repricing of risk premia and a significant increase in claims inflation.
  • A yield curve down shock combined with longevity stress, which means there is a protracted period of extremely low interest rates accompanied by an increase in the life expectancy.
  • A series of natural catastrophes where European countries are hit in a quick succession of four windstorms, two floods and two earthquakes.
In this year's exercise 42 European (re)insurance groups participated representing a market coverage of around 75 % based on total consolidate assets. The reference date was 31 December 2017.
The impact of the different scenarios on the balance sheet position and on the capital position of the participating groups was assessed by the excess of Assets over Liabilities and an estimation of the post-stress Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) ratio. Given the operational and methodological challenges related to the recalculation of the group SCR, participating groups were allowed to use approximations and simplifications as long as a fair reflection of the direction and magnitude of the impact was warranted.
In the pre-stress (baseline) situation, participants reported an aggregate Assets over Liabilities (AoL) ratio of 109.5 % and a pre-stress SCR coverage of 202.4 %.
Overall, the exercise confirmed the significant sensitivity to market shocks combined with specific shocks relevant for the European insurance sector. On aggregate, the sector is adequately capitalised to absorb the prescribed shocks.
In the 'yield curve up' scenario, the excess of assets over liabilities is reduced by approximately one third (-32.2 %) and the aggregate post-stress SCR ratio drops to 145.2 %. Six groups reported a post-stress SCR ratio below 100 %.
In the 'yield curve down' scenario, the impact on the excess of assets over liabilities is of similar magnitude (-27.6 %) with an aggregate post-stress SCR ratio of 137.4 %.  Seven groups reported a post-stress SCR ratio below 100 %.
In the natural catastrophe scenario only a small decrease of 0.3 percentage points of assets over liabilities ratio was reported. Overall, the participating groups demonstrate a high resilience to the series of natural catastrophes tested, showing the importance of the risk transfer mechanisms in place, namely reinsurance, which absorbed 55 % of the losses. Consequently, the most affected groups are reinsurers and those direct insurers largely involved in reinsurance activities.
One of the objectives of this year's exercise, in line with the recent recommendations from the European Court of Auditors, was to increase transparency by requesting the voluntary disclosure of a list of individual stress test indicators by the participating groups. To date, four of the 42 participating groups provided consent to the publication of the individual results.
Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA said: "This stress test marks an important step forward in assessing the resilience of the European insurance sector to a set of adverse but plausible scenarios and provides a valuable basis for a continuous dialogue with the participating groups on the identified vulnerabilities and the preventive measures and potential management actions to address them, should they materialise."