Market insight from year-end 2020 SFCRs: Sample of life insurers based in Luxembourg
Gross written premiums in our sample of Luxembourg-based life insurers decreased 20% in 2020.
As the Pension Risk Transfer market continues to grow, it has become increasingly important for plan sponsors to monitor the annuity buyout market when considering a plan termination or de-risking strategy. Figure 1 illustrates retiree buyout costs with two different metrics: the red line represents only the most competitive insurers' rates from each month, while the blue line represents a straight average of all insurers' rates in this study.
These metrics demonstrate two important concepts. First, the competitive bidding process is estimated to save plan sponsors on average around 3.5% as of December 31. Second, retirees can be annuitized for an estimated 99.3% of accounting liabilities (accumulated benefit obligation).
During December 2021, average accounting discount rates increased by 6 basis points (bps), while competitive annuity purchase rates increased by 13 basis points (bps). This caused the estimated competitive retiree buyout cost as a percentage of accounting liability to decrease from 99.9% to 99.3%.
When considering these results, please keep the following information in mind:
The Milliman Pension Buyout Index (MPBI) uses the FTSE Above Median AA Curve and annuity purchase composite interest rates from eight insurance companies to estimate the cost, as a percentage of accounting liability, of transferring retiree pension obligations to an insurer. To review previous monthly findings, visit milliman.com/en/periodicals/Milliman-Pension-Buyout-Index.