Modeling the pandemic risk
How to model the COVID-19 pandemic and forge a path to better risk insurance.
If you are a risk management professional of a self-insured entity, you may be currently in the process of engaging your consulting actuary to help with year-end calculations. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve talked to your actuary in awhile. However, ask yourself: When should I talk to my consulting actuary?
If you selected c), you are correct. However, discussing these changes with your actuary may not be at the forefront of your mind. This article will provide five reasons why it should be, and when it’s appropriate to give your actuary a call.
If you change the size of your retention, your actuary needs this information to correctly represent limited losses in analysis of liability and loss forecasts. Your actuary can also help you determine the most appropriate size of retention given your company’s loss experience and risk appetite.
A traditional total cost of risk (TCoR) calculation typically considers two things: expected retained losses and premium for risk transfer. When evaluating an increase in retention, you may consider the trade-off between the additional retained losses and the accompanying premium savings. However, there is another component that should be considered.
Higher retentions lead to increased volatility, and that should play a part in the equation. For example, if your retention was $500,000 and is now increasing to $1 million, there is a greater potential downside of higher total losses accompanying that change, especially during a bad year.
|Expected||95%||98%||Estimated||Total cost of risk|
|Retention||Retained losses||1-in-20||1-in-50||Premium||At expected||95th percentile||98th percentile|
In the sample calculation presented in Figure 1, there is an expected savings of $665,000 in TCoR by moving from a $500,000 to a $1 million retention. However, at the 95th percentile (a 1-in-20-year loss scenario), there is a $621,000 disadvantage, and this continues to increase when reviewing the 98th percentile (a 1-in-50-year loss scenario). Your actuary can help you evaluate the TCoR at not only the actuarial central estimate but also higher percentiles to help you feel comfortable in making your decision to change retentions.
There are many ways that you can change your insurance program structure that would impact retained losses and, in turn, the actuarial calculation. The three structure changes mentioned below are not an exhaustive list.
Moving your large deductible policy from one carrier to another may result in a collateral redundancy for multiple renewals. When you leave a carrier, the carrier will continue to evaluate the collateral need, based on the unpaid loss estimate. At the same time, you will be ramping up the collateral need with a new carrier. Figure 3 demonstrates a sample breakeven point where the blue and gold lines intersect, occurring at the beginning of the policy year incepting 2XX4. Figure 4 demonstrates the run-off with the old carrier and the ramp-up with the new carrier. The sum of the gray and orange lines in Figure 4 equals the gold line in Figure 3.
In addition to the collateral implications of changing carriers, if your insurance program is bundled (i.e., your insurance carrier handles your claims), then a change in the claims handler may contribute to shifts in the data.
A change in claims handler can impact the way that the loss data is collected and provided. Each risk management information system (RMIS) is different, which may cause a mismatch in the data when it comes from multiple sources. Explaining this change to your actuary can help them understand how to summarize and analyze the data in order to maintain consistency across data sources.
A change in claims handler may also lead to other shifts in the loss data. For example, if the previous claims handler required only losses above a certain threshold to be reported, and the new claims handler is requiring all claims to be reported (even report-only claims), then this will cause a disturbance in the frequency (i.e., the number of claims normalized by an exposure basis).
If your new claims handler assigns higher initial case reserves, resulting in fewer increases as claims mature, it will impact your incurred loss development pattern. If the case reserves are closer to ultimate at earlier ages, there may be less need for a provision for future development.
Without this prior information, an actuary may look at these shifts as adverse development, when in reality the development has accelerated. This can impact the expected losses for the years post-change. Notifying your actuary will help avoid unnecessary overstatement of unpaid liability or projected future losses.
A few other changes that are worth discussing with your actuary include:
Without the qualitative information to support shifts in the quantitative results, your actuary may jump to conclusions about the cause of changes seen in the data. Having the conversation will allow your actuary to feel more comfortable about making the appropriate adjustments to reflect the impact of operational changes at your company.
Additionally, your actuary can help evaluate the effect of changing your insurance program structure, your carrier, and your claims handler. These are all good reasons to have your actuary on speed dial!