Product Development Section Product ISSUE 77 | JUNE 2010 !1 A Brief Look at the Phase 1 Survey Results From the SOA/RGA Post-Level Term Research Project A Brief Look at the Phase 1 Survey By Tim Rozar and Scott Rushing Results From the SOA/RGA Post-Level3 Chairperson’s Corner: Term Research Project “What’s on Your Mind?” By John Currier By Tim Rozar and Scott Rushing8 Interactions Between Dynamic Lapses and Interest Rates in The SOA’s Product Development Section Council and Committee on Life Insurance Stochastic Modeling Research engaged RGA to research the magnitude and impact of the “shock lapse” at the By Yuhong Xue end of the level premium period. This has become an extremely important assumption both for new business pricing and for modeling in-force business. As a result, we have tried to13 A Look Ahead to the Fall Society of develop a comprehensive and highly relevant industry study of post-level term assumptions, Actuaries Meeting practices and experience results. By Tom Phillips and Mitchell Katcher The project was broken into two phases:15 Universal Life and Indexed UL Trends • Phase 1 was a survey of the mortality and lapse assumptions used by actuaries for pricing By Susan J. Saip and modeling term products. • Phase 2 was a study of mortality and lapse experience from companies with term poli-19 NAIC Update – March 2010 Meeting cies beyond the end of the level period. By Donna R. Claire This article will summarize the results from the Phase 1 Survey. A copy of the complete sur-23 SOA International Experience vey report can be found at http://soa.org/research/life/research-post-level.aspx. Responses Survey—Embedded Value Financial Assumptions were received from 41 companies responsible for approximately 63 percent of 2008 term Charles Carroll, William Horbatt, and sales. The survey questions asked companies to describe pricing assumptions and product Dominique Lebel design characteristics for their term products issued as of the end of 2008. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
Chairperson’s Corner:“What’s on Your Mind?”By John CurrierA s you read this article some of you are trying to catch up in the office after recently returning from the first an- nual Life and Annuity Symposium in Tampa, some are wondering what to do with your children all summer now that school is out (or nearly so for those hit with multiple snow days this past winter), some are gearing upfor second-quarter end financial reporting, some are thinking about ways to sneak in a few hours of outdoors activitynow that the weather has turned, and we are all thinking about how to make the Product Development Section morerelevant to us.Hold on, I can hear you saying, I get that we are transitioning to summer and that means lots of new thoughts, but Johnyou’ve lost it if you think I’m spending any time thinking about the Product Development Section. John Currier, FSA, MAAA, is EVP, Chief Actuary forIt may seem a stretch, but the fact you are reading these words tells me that you look to the Society of Actuaries and the Aviva USA. He can beProduct Development Section for valuable information—that you are looking for that nugget that is relevant to what contacted atyou are doing in your working life. email@example.comThe Product Development Section is working to provide those nuggets to you—based on what you’ve told us is im-portant to do. Many of you responded to our survey of what is most important to you and your council is acting on thatfeedback.• The session topics at the Life and Annuity Symposium were tested against the topics you said you were interested in.• The post-symposium seminars were built on topics you mentioned.• This newsletter contains an article from an author who identified their willingness to provide content in that survey.• We are pursuing articles for future editions from others identified in the survey.• Webinar content is being developed based on your topics.• 2010 Annual meeting content is being developed to match the survey requests.• Some who expressed interest in the council are now assisting in other ways or will be seeking election in the coming months.You can see that your council is working hard to provide “mining opportunities”—opportunities for relevance. If youtake the time, I know that nugget is there for you—but if we are not meeting your needs, this is your Section after all,do let us know and find a way to get involved in the life of the Section—we need each and every one of you to make usthe best we can be.Enjoy this edition of Product Matters, have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you at the AnnualMeeting. Since you’ve read this far I know the Product Development Section is on your mind! Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 3
A Brief Look at the Phase 1 Survey … | FROM PAGE 1 Product Design For 10-year level term, 33 of 41 respondents (80 percent) A number of survey questions were asked about the struc- provided a shock lapse assumption of less than 100 per- ture and design of term products. The specific questions cent. Of these companies, 31 also provided a shock lapse and responses can be found in the full survey report. The assumption of less than 100 percent for their 20-year term following high level observations can be made: product. Here are a few of the highlights: • An immediate jump to an annually increasing • The median shock lapse assumption was 80 percent in premium scale following the level period is by far duration 10 for a common T10 pricing cell and 82 per- Tim Rozar, FSA, the most common term design. A small number of cent in duration 20 for a common T20 pricing cell. MAAA, CERA, is VP respondents described products where the premiums • The median cumulative lapse rate assumption for dura- & actuary for RGA , entered a new level period or graded into an ultimate tions 10 through 14 was 90 percent for T10. For T20, the Chesterfield, Mo. He ART scale. median cumulative lapse rate for durations 20 through can be contacted at • Premiums after the level period were typically set 24 was 92 percent. firstname.lastname@example.org. between 200 percent and 300 percent of 2001 CSO • For T10, duration 11 lapse assumptions were generally Ultimate (often exactly 200 percent or 300 percent). lower than the duration 10 shock lapse, although a few As illustrated in the survey report, this represents a respondents provided assumptions in duration 11 that very large jump in the premium amount compared to were higher than duration 10. We expect that this could the level period. be attributable to differences in how companies are • We asked about the differences between current pre- calculating termination dates with regard to the grace mium rates and guaranteed rates after the end of the period. The same patterns could be seen for the assump- level period. The responses were split fairly evenly tions provided for other level periods. between products where the currents were set below • Six respondents adjusted their assumptions for the tim- the guarantees, products where the currents were ing of off-anniversary lapses beyond the level premium set equal to the guarantees, and products with only a period. Preliminary findings from the Phase 2 experi- guaranteed premium scale. ence study suggest that the timing of lapses in duration • Premium rates normally varied by risk class and face 11 is skewed more toward the beginning of the policy Scott Rushing, FSA, year than it is during the level period. This could have amount band during the level period, but not during MAA, is an actuary for a non-trivial impact on pricing. Even if the annualized the post-level period. For the best preferred products, RGA, Chesterfield, lapse assumptions are appropriate, policies may lapse this creates an even larger jump in premium after the Mo. He can be con- sooner than expected during policy duration 11. level period. tacted at srushing@ • Conversions are commonly allowed into any per- rgare.com. The chart on page 5 (top) shows the lapse rate assump- manent plan, although some respondents limited the products that were available for conversion. tions by duration for a common 10-year term pricing cell. Conversions are also commonly allowed until the The median assumption is plotted with a star and is con- end of the level premium period prior to a specified nected by a dark line across durations. The wide spread of attained age. We noted that increasingly generous assumptions is plotted with a vertical line connecting the conversion options create the potential for term con- maximum and minimum assumption within each policy versions to offer policyholders the same coverage at a duration. Most respondents modeled the largest portion lower cost than paying post-level period term rates. of the shock lapse at the end of duration 10 and then either immediately dropped down to an ultimate lapse rate in duration 11 or quickly graded down to an ultimate level Shock Lapse Assumptions shortly thereafter. The charts for the other level periods Respondents were asked to provide their lapse assump- and pricing cells show similar directional trends. tions for six durations beginning with the last year of the level premium period. There was a wide range of assump- tions provided, which varied by a number of different parameters including issue age, risk class, premium pay- ment mode, premium jump ratio, and level term period.4| JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
T10 Lapse Assumptions MaximumLapse Rate 80th percentile Median 20th percentile Minimum Duration The following chart shows the cumulative lapse rate starting in duration 10 in a similar fashion. This view helps con- trol for some of the differences in the shape of the lapse rate assumption by different companies. Some respondents used smaller than average duration 10 shock lapses but then followed it up with a higher than average duration 11 lapse rate, while others used larger than average duration 10 shock lapses followed immediately by a low ultimate lapse rate assumption for durations 11 and later. T10 Lapse Assumptions: Cumulative MaximumLapse Rate 80th percentile Median 20th percentile Minimum Duration CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 5
A Brief Look at the Phase 1 Survey … | FROM PAGE 5 Mortality Deterioration Assumptions • Mortality deterioration multiples that varied by duration As a direct consequence of anti-selective shock lapse generally graded down. This wearing-off of anti-selec- activity, it is common practice to assume mortality de- tion is likely associated with the generally decreasing terioration among the cohort of policies choosing to pay pattern of lapse assumptions by duration after the initial the higher premiums after the level period. Respondents shock lapse. were asked to provide the mortality deterioration mul- • For assumptions that varied by issue age, mortality de- tiples they used to model this effect. As with shock lapses, terioration generally increased slightly from issue age there were a wide range of assumptions and practices pro- 25 through 55 with a lower multiple for duration 65. All vided. For 10-year term, 29 respondents provided details of these companies used either the D-M or CIA VTP #2 of their mortality deterioration assumption: method for developing their assumptions. • The median mortality deterioration multiple assump- • Ten of the 33 companies that provided shock lapse as- tion was 200 percent for T10 in duration 11. For T20, sumptions assumed a different deterioration for term the median mortality deterioration multiple assumption conversions than they did for policies that continued was 250 percent in duration 21. to persist in the term policy beyond the level premium • Six respondents used a flat multiple after the end of the period. level period, while others varied their assumptions by • Some correlation is evident between the size of the a number of parameters including duration, issue age, shock lapse that was assumed and the amount of mortal- level period, risk class, and gender. ity deterioration that was assumed. • A variety of methods were listed for developing the de- terioration assumptions including Dukes-MacDonald The chart below (left) shows the mortality deteriora- (11), CIA Valuation Technique Paper #2 (7), and tion assumptions provided for a common 10-year term Becker-Kitsos (1). pricing cell. There is a wide range of assumptions at each duration. As described previously, the aggregated mortality deterioration assumptions generally started grading down slightly after duration 12, although many respondents provided multiples that were level across all T10 Mortality Deterioration Assumption durations. The scatter plot on pg. 7 (top) shows the relationship be- tween each company’s shock lapse assumption and their Monthly Deterioration Multiple mortality deterioration assumption. Each triangle rep- resents a different company’s assumptions. In general, Maximum companies with larger shock lapse assumptions tend to 80th percentile also assume higher levels of mortality deterioration. This Median is particularly true for companies using formula-based approaches to developing their mortality deterioration 20th percentile assumptions. This particular plot shows the mortality de- Minimum terioration assumption in duration 12 as a function of the cumulative lapse assumption in durations 10 through 11 for 10-year term, but other level periods showed similar relationships. Duration6| JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
The scatter plot below (right) shows the same data for T10 Shock Lapse vs. Mortality Deterioration Assumptioncompanies that described their post-level premium ratesas being 300 percent of 2001 CSO (or greater) or 200 per-cent of 2001 CSO (or less). This should provide a general Monthly Deteioration Duration 12sense for the size of the post-level period premium jumpbuilt into the product design. It seems that companieswith larger post-level premiums are assuming higher lev-els of shock lapse and mortality deterioration, althoughthe sample size is admittedly small. When looking atpreliminary Phase 2 experience data (and RGA’s owninternal data), we have seen a strong correlation betweenthe size of the premium jump and the size of the shocklapse. It seems appropriate that companies would varytheir assumptions accordingly.ConclusionProduct development actuaries continue to confrontthe challenges of understanding the implications ofpolicyholder behavior. Post-level period assumptionsare critical to the accurate pricing of term products, but Cumulative Lapse Rate Duration 10 through 11experience is only now emerging to validate and refineassumptions. It is important to analyze this emergingexperience and then make the appropriate adjustments to T10 Shock Lapse vs. Mortality Deterioration Assumptionreflect the differences in design characteristics of prod-ucts being issued today. Monthly Deteioration Duration 12We’d like to express our thanks to the SOA, the PDSection, and RGA for their support of this researchproject. We’d also like to thank the SOA staff and thevolunteers on the Project Oversight Group for their valu-able contributions and guidance. We hope that Phase 1 ofthis research has successfully synthesized the collectivethoughts of many industry leaders around post-levelterm pricing and modeling considerations. Stay tuned forPhase 2! Cumulative Lapse Rate Duration 10 through 11 300% of 2001 CSO or Greater Less than or Equal to 200% of 2001CSO Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 7
Interactions Between Dynamic Lapses and Interest Rates in Stochastic Modeling By Yuhong Xue T he Joint Risk Management Section of the ally reasonable to model dynamic lapses in a stochastic Society of Actuaries recently published the model to avoid understating liabilities. Consequently, it Policyholder Behavior in the Tail Variable is not surprising to see that most of the companies have Annuity Guaranteed Benefits Survey/C3 phase II 2009 incorporated dynamic lapses in their stochastic models Results. According to the survey, the goal “was to gain for statutory reserve and capital calculations. But does insight into companies’ assumptions of variable annu- it mean that the work is done? Let’s take a closer look. ity policyholder behavior in the tail of the C3 Phase II Yuhong (Jason) Xue, calculation.” The modeling is often achieved by using a dynamic FSA, MAA, is an officer lapse formula which acts to increase or decrease the of Retirement Solutions The survey observed that “an overwhelming majority base lapse rates when policies are out-of- or in-the- at the Guardian Life of insurers use dynamic lapses for living benefits. The money. A formula that reduces the lapse rate when in- Insurance of America percentage of insurers using dynamic lapses has risen the-money and increases it when out-of-the-money is in New York, NY. He from 83 percent in 2005 to 90 percent in 2009, with a said to be two-sided. One that only decreases the lapse can be reached at peak of 95 percent in 2008.” Since most companies are rate when in-the-money but does not increase it when email@example.com. leveraging the expertise gained through their C3 phase out-of-the-money is said to be one-sided. II efforts in the VACARVM implementation, it is safe to assume that the same observation can be made in the The extent to which the base lapse rate is increased or VACARVM stochastic model as well. decreased obviously depends on the parameters cho- sen. It also depends on the definition of the guaranteed Dynamic lapses for variable annuities reflect the phe- value which determines the level of in-the-moneyness, nomenon that policyholders tend not to surrender their the factor that ultimately drives the lapse rate. Take the policies when the guarantees embedded in the contracts following formula for example: are “in-the-money.” A policy is said to be in-the-money when the guaranteed value exceeds the account value. lapse rate = It is “out-of-the-money” when the account value is suf- base lapse rate x ℮2 [MIN (account value / guaranteed value, 1) – 1] (1) ficient to cover the value of the guarantees. This is a one-sided dynamic lapse formula. When Reducing lapse rates when the policies are in-the- guaranteed value exceeds account value in formula (1), money tends to increase liabilities. Hence, it is gener- the base lapse rate will be multiplied by a factor less8| JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
than one, serving to reduce the base lapse rate. In fact, very high because all these generate high claims duewhen the guaranteed value is twice the account value, to the guarantees. Therefore, one should carefullyor 200 percent in-the-money, the base lapse rate will be ensure that a simple definition of the guaranteed valuereduced to just 37 percent of its original value. does not underestimate the liabilities in the tail. This is particularly important when the measure of liabilityBut what is the guaranteed value? Take a life-time is a percentile or conditional tail expectation (CTE) ofguaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (GMWB) the distribution such as in the case of VACARVM andrider on a variable annuity contract for example: Is it C3 Phase II.the Guaranteed Withdrawal Balance (GWB) defined inthe contract? Or is it the present value of the stream of For this article, the author studied the interactionsfuture guaranteed payments? What interest rates should between dynamic lapses and interest rate modelingbe used to discount the stream of payments? Should a through a stochastic model built for lifetime GMWBconstant rate be used throughout the model? Or should riders. The dynamic lapse function is as describedthe forward rates at the point of calculation be used? in formula (1). The guaranteed value in the formula is defined to be the present value of future paymentIn a stochastic model, the forward rates are specific stream. Three alternatives of the discount rate are con-to the time step and the scenario under consideration. sidered: constant, stochastic interest rates independentNaturally, how the interest rates are modeled also has of equity returns, and stochastic interest rates with cor-significant implications on the dynamic lapse func- relations to equity returns.tion, since the guaranteed value that determines thein-the-moneyness is influenced by the stochastically The GMWB Ridermodeled discount rates. As if it is not already compli- For illustration purposes only, the author modeled acated enough, the account value, another factor in the life time GMWB rider which charges 80 basis pointsin-the-moneyness calculation, is influenced primarily and guarantees the following withdrawal rates for life:by the equity markets whose performances are oftencorrelated with the interest rates. Age of First Guaranteed Withdrawal WithdrawalAll these factors: dynamic lapses, stochastic interest Raterates, and correlations with the equity markets, are 50 4.0%all inter-related in a stochastic model. Needless to 60 5.0%say, considering all of their interactions can make the 70 6.0%model extremely complex—not to mention resourceconsuming. It exemplifies perfectly the balancing act 80 7.0%between model complexity and accuracy. But can wesimply ignore the impact of interest rate modeling on If no withdrawals are taken for 10 years, the riderdynamic lapses? guarantees 180 percent of the initial premium as the withdrawal base at the end of the 10th year. It also hasIn practice, we have a tendency to simply either define an annual ratchet feature which steps up the withdrawalthe guaranteed value at a constant discount rate or to base if the account value is higher than the base onassume interest rates to be independent of the equity anniversaries.markets. However, one can easily imagine a scenariowhere extremely low equity returns and low interest The Cash Flow Modelrates drive the account value low but the guaranteed Only cash flows due to the rider, specifically ridervalue high, yielding high in-the-moneyness and very charges and claim payments, are modeled explicitly.low lapse rates. The liabilities in this scenario can be CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 9
Interactions Between Dynamic Lapses … | FROM PAGE 9 The profit of the rider is defined to be the present value with the value of the liability due to the rider, it can be of the rider charges less the present value of the claims. used as an indirect measure of the liability. The rider profit is often expressed either as a ratio or as basis points (bps) of the present value of the withdrawal Other cash flows such as M&E fees, revenue sharing, base. For example, if the withdrawal base is $100,000 expenses, and commissions are not part of the cash every year for the next 10 years, a profit of 10 bps flows that go into the profit calculation, although they means $100 each year for the next 10 years. serve to reduce the account value in the projection. The cash flows are projected over 1,000 equity and Other modeling approaches are certainly possible. For interest rate scenarios. The average profit over the example, we can model the base contract and the rider 1,000 scenarios is used as the measure of the value of together and consider all cash flows. We could use a the business. Since profit has an inverse relationship different measure of liability such as a percentile or CTE of the distribution of the rider profit, or we could measure liability through accumulated deficiency or The profit of the rider is defined to be the pres- surplus as defined in AG 43 and RBC C3 Phase II. However, for understanding the interactions of dynam- ent value of the rider charges less the present value ic lapses and interest rate modeling, the above simpli- fied approach serves the purpose. of the claims. Equity and Interest Rate Scenarios Six equity indices are modeled stochastically through a lognormal process. Means, volatilities and correlations between the six indices are based on historical data. The six indices are S&P500, Russell2000, NASDAQ COMPOSITE, EAFE, BOND, and Money Market. The funds of the policy with the GMWB rider are assumed to have a 60/40 allocation between stocks and bonds. The short rate is modeled using the Cox, Ingersoll, and Ross model, which is a one-factor equilibrium model that reverts to a long-term mean. The formula for changes in the short-term rate is as follows:10 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
The parameters are chosen as below: ... the guaranteed value in the formula is the r0 1.24% present value of the future payment stream that a a 15.0% b 5.0% or 3.0% policyholder could receive if he or she starts the σ 7.5% lifetime withdrawal immediately.The parameter r0 is the initial short rate; a is referredto as the strength to mean reversion; b is the long-termmean target; and σ is the short rate volatility. dz is thesampling error of the standard normal distribution.The short rate can be independent, or it can be corre-lated with equity returns, in which case the correlationis defined as: Correlation S&P500 Russell2000 Nasdaq Comp Bond EAFE Money Market Short Rate (0.12) (0.10) (0.08) (0.14) (0.55) -Discount Rate to Determine Discussion of ResultsGuaranteed Value The model is run with only the following variations:The dynamic lapses formula used is as described informula (1). At any given time-step of the projection, As for the discount rate to determine the guaranteedthe guaranteed value in the formula is the present value in formula (1),value of the future payment stream that a policyholder • 4 percent constant discount rate, orcould receive if he or she starts the lifetime withdrawal • Short rate + 100 bpsimmediately. The discount rate can be a constant inde-pendent of the short rates stochastically generated in As for the correlation between the short rate in thethe model; or it can be a function of the short rates. above bullet point and the equity returns,Theoretically, the guaranteed value is a measure of • independent short rateshow much the guarantee is worth to the policyholder if • correlated short rates with equity returnswithdrawal is taken immediately. The discount rate todetermine this value should be comparable to the rate As for the long-term reversion target of the short rateat which the policyholder can annuitize the contract. model,This rate is often derived from a long-term treasury rate • 3 percent long-term targetwhich is on the other end of the term structure of inter- • 5 percent long-term targetest rate. For our purpose, the author approximated theannuitization rate by adding 100 bps to the short rate, The table on pg. 12 shows the average rider profit overand defined this rate to be the discount rate at which the the 1,000 scenarios.guaranteed value is calculated. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 11
Interactions Between Dynamic Lapses … | FROM PAGE 11 One immediate observation from the table below is The explanation lies in the fact that when the short rate that no matter what the long-term view of interest rates and the equity returns are not correlated, there are some is (whether it’s 3 percent or 5 percent); the linkage of scenarios with very low interest rates and low equity the dynamic lapse formula and the interest rates has returns. The low equity returns result in reduced account a material impact on the value of the liability. For values. The low discount rate exacerbates the situation example, if the short-term interest rate reverts to 3 by increasing the guaranteed value of the contract in the percent long term and it varies independently with the dynamic lapse formula, causing the contract to be more equity returns, the profit is only 14 bps compared to the in-the-money. The resulting lapse rates from applying 23 bps if dynamic lapses are not linked to interest rates. the formula are the lowest, which tends to increase liabil- ity. This is a classic case of increased tail risk due to the On closer inspection, when dynamic lapses and interest interactions of two or more variables. rates are linked, a higher long-term interest rate gener- ally reduces liability and helps profitability. The higher Final Words discount rates reduce the guaranteed value of the con- How do we address the question in the first section: tract, making them less in-the-money, hence lapse rates can we be satisfied after building in the dynamic lapse remain close to the base level. formula in a stochastic model? The answer is that we need to carefully study the interactions between dynamic The author has assumed a slightly inverse correlation lapses and interest rates, making sure tail risks are not between interest rates and equity returns. In other overlooked. Even when a simplified approach is prefer- words, when equity returns are low, interest rates tend able, such as using a constant discount rate to determine to be high, and vice versa. This inverse correlation the guaranteed value, we need to ensure that it is consis- helps to reduce liability since when equity returns are tent with the various interest rate assumptions such as low, the high discount rates serve to reduce the guaran- long-term mean and correlations to equity returns. teed value of the contract. The dynamic lapse formula generates a higher lapse rate than it would have if the As illustrated in the previous sections, not fully under- interest rates and the equity returns were not correlated. standing the interaction can result in material differences in the calculation of liabilities. For pricing applications, Perhaps the biggest surprise is the 14 bps profit when this could mean not fully understanding profitability. the short-term interest rate reverts to the 3 percent level For valuation models, this could lead to understating or and the equity returns move independently of the interest overstating VACARVM reserves, FAS 133 reserves, rates. It is less than half of the 29 bps profit if the interest RBC, or Economic Capital. For hedging applications, rates and equity returns are simply correlated, every- this could result in under or over hedging the liability. thing else being equal. This result could be even more dramatic if a percentile or a CTE measure was used. Guaranteed Value 3% Long Term Mean 5% Long Term Mean Discount Rate Reversion Target Reversion Target 4% Constant Discount Rate 0.23% 0.23% Stochastic Short Rate Independent 0.14% 0.25% of Equity Returns Stochastic Short Rate with Correlation to 0.29% 0.31% Equity Returns12 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
A Look Ahead to the Fall Society of Actuaries MeetingBy Tom Phillips and Mitchell KatcherIn only a few months, it will be time for the Fall Society And, of course, there will be networking opportunitiesof Actuaries meeting. The Product Development Section on a variety of topics at our usual hot breakfast. The fallCouncil is putting together a timely and relevant pro- meeting is always a good opportunity to renew acquain-gram for the product actuaries attending the meeting. tances with product actuaries.The program will provide practical information on theproduct market and product development process for life As of the writing of this article, most of the speakers andand annuity actuaries. specific topics were still being worked out, so please check regularly with the Society of Actuaries website for Tom PhillipsAs you recall, last fall the Section Council surveyed sec- the latest on the fall meeting.tion members, inquiring into topics that would be mostbeneficial for sessions at Society meetings. We receivedfeedback from hundreds of product actuaries on thatsurvey. In addition, the Council has reviewed the ses-sions from the 2009 Annual Meeting to help develop theschedule for the October, 2010, meeting.Both the survey results and the meeting attendance showthat product actuaries are interested in the latest devel-opments in the life and annuity marketplace. For thefall meeting in 2010, there will be two product updatesessions—one on life products and another on annuities.Those will update actuaries on trends and issues in themarket as the industry recovers from the recession. Inaddition, there is always strong demand for the latest Mitchell Katcherresearch and statistics on mortality and we’ll be includ-ing a mortality update session in the meeting.The survey results noted there is a strong interest inpricing and product implications under the upcomingprinciple-based approach to valuation and the fall meet-ing will include a session on that topic.Issues related to VACARVM are also timely and theCouncil is planning a session on the challenges andlessons learned so far from its implementation. Also inthe annuity area, there will be a session on RetirementProducts, which will highlight the methods for provid-ing retirement income, associated financial risks, andproducts for that market.There is a considerable amount of activity on the regula-tory front, including the principle-based approach, theinternational financial reporting standards, and SolvencyII. The regulatory activity will be the subject of a fallsession. Other product sessions will cover the ProductDevelopment Process and Market Consistent Pricing. Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 13
Universal Life and Indexed UL TrendsBy Susan J. SaipM illiman, Inc. recently conducted its third rent assumption UL products from 2008 to YTD annual comprehensive survey of leading June 30, 2009. The table at the bottom of this page Universal Life (UL) insurers to discover summarizes the average ages calculated based on salescurrent dynamics of the UL market. UL insurance plays reported by issue age range and gender for 2008 anda significant role in the life insurance market, account- YTD June 30, 2009.ing for about 41 percent of U.S. individual life insur- 70%ance sales (based on annualized premium) for calendaryear 2009.1 The survey included the following UL 60%product types: UL with secondary guarantees (ULSG), Percent of Total Individual UL Salescash accumulation UL, current assumption UL, and 50%indexed UL (IUL). Twenty-two carriers participatedin the survey. Some of the highlights of the study are 40%summarized in this article. 30%Sales 56% 66%The chart on the right (top) shows the mix of sales 20% 57% 56%(excluding IUL sales) reported by survey participantsfor calendar years 2006 through 2008 and for 2009 10% 29% 28% 27% 23% 17%as of June 30 (YTD June 30, 2009). For purposes of 13% 15% 12%the survey, sales were defined as the sum of recurring 0% 2006 2007 2008 YTD 6/30/09premiums plus 10 percent of single premiums. Overall,there was a shift from both cash accumulation UL sales ULSG Cash Accumulation UL Current Assumption ULand current assumption UL sales to ULSG sales. The distribution of ULSG sales by underwriting classAverage amounts per policy reported by survey par- was similar between 2008 and YTD June 30, 2009.ticipants for all UL types fell from 2008 to YTD June30, 2009, on both a premium and face amount basis. Gender ULSG Cash Current IULULSG average amounts per policy (premium and face Accumulation Assumption ULamount) and current assumption average premiums per ULpolicy had also dropped from 2007 to 2008. From 2008 Based on 2008 Sales – Premiumto YTD June 30, 2009, the total UL average premiumper policy dropped from $9,956 to $6,797 and the total Male 62 63 60 51average face amount per policy dropped from $339,300 Female 65 63 57 52to $299,000. The drop was even more significant for Based on 2008 Sales – Face AmountIUL plans. From 2008 to YTD June 30, 2009, IULaverage premium per policy dropped from $20,915 to Male 56 51 49 42$7,812 and average face amount per policy dropped Female 57 50 45 42from $519,500 to $313,400. Perhaps some insurers Based on 6/30/09 Sales – Premiumhave taken steps to limit their large face amount and oldage business, which led to a drop in average premiums, Male 62 55 53 51average face amounts, and as noted below, average Female 64 53 49 52issue ages. Based on 6/30/09 Sales – Face AmountA weighted average issue age was determined for Male 55 45 42 42sales of survey participants based on the midpoint Female 55 42 39 41of specified issue age ranges. Average ages droppedsignificantly for cash accumulation UL and cur- 1 LIMRA International, Inc CONTINUED ON PAGE 16 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 15
Universal Life and Indexed UL Trends | FROM PAGE 15 However, there was a shift in sales to the top non- Profit Measures smoker/non-tobacco (NS/NT) classes from 2008 to The predominant profit measure reported by survey YTD June 30, 2009 for cash accumulation UL, cur- participants continues to be an after-tax, after-capital rent assumption UL, and IUL sales. A reduction in the statutory return on investment/internal rate of return number of underwriting classes was also reported by (ROI/IRR). Few participants changed their profit goals some survey participants, consistent with a move to or measures due to the recent financial crisis. The medi- simplified issue plans. an ROI/IRR profit target reported was 12 percent for all products. Seventy-three percent of survey participants also use secondary measures in pricing UL products. Actual YTD June 30, 2009 Results Relative To Profit Goals Actual profit results for YTD June 30, 2009 relative to 100% profit goals were not as favorable for survey partici- 9% 11% pants as in the past. The chart on the left shows the per- 90% 23% centage of survey participants reporting they are falling short of, meeting, or exceeding their profit goals. 80% 47% 70% Target Surplus The majority of survey participants reported target 60% surplus relevant to pricing new UL sales issued today 73% on an NAIC basis. The overall NAIC risk-based capital 50% 78% 62% percent of company action level ranged from 200 per- 40% cent to 350 percent for ULSG and cash accumulation markets, and from 250 percent to 350 percent for cur- 30% rent assumption markets and IUL markets. Few partici- 53% 20% pants indicate they are well prepared for the changes to the C-3 component of risk-based capital. 10% 18% 15% 11% Reserves 0% Most respondents to the survey expect that principle- ULSG Cash Current IUL Accumulation Assumption based reserves (PBR) will be in place in 2012 at the earliest. Participants’ comments regarding their outlook Exceeding on the impact of PBR were nearly evenly split between those that do not expect a material impact and those Meeting that expect a reduction in reserves. The majority of participants have not examined the underwriting crite- Falling Short ria scoring system for establishing a valuation mortal- ity table. Also, few survey participants have modeled PBR-type reserves on existing UL products. Thirteen of the 22 participants are using or moving toward pre- Most respondents to the survey expect that prin- ferred mortality splits and/or lapses in reserves. ciple-based reserves (PBR) will be in place in 2012 Risk Management at the earliest. The cost of financing assumed in pricing ULSG prod- ucts currently ranges from 100 to 300 bps. Three survey participants assume the same costs that were assumed a year ago, three assume a lower cost and two assume a higher cost than that assumed one year ago.16 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
Nearly half of survey participants are reacting to the market LTC combination plans within two years andcurrent marketplace by riding it out and eight of the an even higher percentage expect to offer some type of22 participants are repricing. The implications of the LTC solution.recent financial crisis on capital solutions are variedamong survey participants. Nearly one-third of survey Eighteen survey participants currently offer a livingparticipants reported very little or no implications. benefit or expect to offer a living benefit in the nextOther participants reported implications that relate 12 months. In nearly all cases, participants are provid-to limited external funding solution availability and/ ing an accelerated death benefit, primarily for terminal Susan J. Saip, FSA, MAAA,or costs. illness. is consulting actuary for Milliman, Inc. She can be contacted at: sue.saip@Underwriting Compensation milliman.com.Table-shaving programs are offered by seven of the Compensation structures are quite varied among survey22 participants, and all reported their programs will be participants. About half of the companies do not varycontinued. commissions and marketing allowables by product type. Median commissions, as well as the range ofThe most popular emerging underwriting tools being commissions, were similar between ULSG and cashused by survey participants, especially at the older accumulation UL. IUL products had slightly higherages, are prescription drug databases (16), cognitive first-year and renewal commissions. Current assump-impairment testing (11), tele-underwriting/telephonic tion UL products had the highest first-year and renewalscreening (11), and activities of daily living (ADL) commissions.measures (11). Rolling target premiums are becoming more commonA few participants (five) have special simplified under- in ULSG compensation programs. Target premiums arewriting products and each described a different special commonly rolled for two years.market where the product is used. PricingThe majority of survey participants have created unique The use of stochastic modeling to evaluate ULSGpreferred risk parameters for the older ages. The use investment risk is used by nine out of 18 participants.of such parameters has increased year-by-year based This level of use has been constant for the past severalon the use reported in Milliman’s previous two annual years, but is surprisingly low given the industry’s great-surveys. er awareness of the risks involved in ULSG products and the movement from a formula-based framework toProduct Design a principle-based approach.Twelve participants repriced their ULSG design in thelast 12 months. The general level of premium rates on Seven participants reported their mortality assumptionsthe new basis versus the old basis increased for six are strictly based on company experience. All otherparticipants and decreased for four participants. Ten participants use various combinations of companyparticipants intend to modify their secondary guarantee experience, guidance from reinsurers, and consultants’products in the next 12 months. recommendations in developing mortality assumptions. The majority of survey participants reported that theFive survey participants currently offer a long-term slope of their mortality assumption is more similarcare (LTC) accelerated benefit rider, however some to the 2001 Valuation Basic Table (VBT) than theaddress the need via chronic care benefits. Eight com- 1975-1980 Select & Ultimate Table or the 2008 VBT.panies expect to develop an LTC combination product Most participants vary their preferred to standard ratioin the next 12 to 24 months, which when coupled with by issue age and/or by duration. Nearly two-thirds ofthe five companies already offering LTC riders, implies the companies assume that preferred to standard ratesthat nearly 60 percent of survey respondents expect to eventually converge and one-third assume they do not CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 17
Universal Life and Indexed UL Trends | FROM PAGE 17 converge. Thirteen of the 22 participants do not assume the industry. The UL/IUL survey provides carriers with mortality improvement in pricing UL/IUL products. a benchmark for this purpose and enables them to see how they stack up relative to the competition. Conclusion Universal Life is a competitive market in a constantly The executive summary of the March 2010 Universal changing environment which requires insurers to stay Life and Indexed Universal Life Issues report may current with the latest happenings. Benchmarking be found at http://www.milliman.com/expertise/life- against other carriers enables insurers to evaluate their financial/publications/rr. processes and practices relative to those prevalent in18 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
NAIC Update – March 2010 MeetingBy Donna R. ClaireT he March 2010 NAIC meeting was March 24 on this part of the manual has been completed. to March 28, 2010 in Denver. (Note to meeting A number of issues were discussed at LHATF. planners—it can still snow a lot in March in There was a discussion on what products shallDenver! Some flights were canceled and some inter- be included—the group has developed a test thatstates closed as up to a foot of snow accumulated.) determines which products would be included from day one. If the product fails the test,The remainder of this article summarizes my notes on reserves will default to the current CRVM meth-the meetings I attended, or reports from friends and odology. An updated version of VM-20 was Donna R. Claire, FSA,colleagues: exposed. MAAA, is president of Claire Thinking, Inc. c. M-21 Variable Annuities: This section will V She can be reached atLife and Health Actuarial Task Force firstname.lastname@example.org.Larry Bruning started the meeting by stating the bring in the Variable Annuity CARVM Actuarialgoals—to make further movement in the principle- Guideline, which became effective at year-based approach to reserves. The goal was to finish end 2009. This section is ready for the initialcertain items at this meeting, and to have conference Valuation Manual.calls to potentially vote on the Valuation Manual beforethe next NAIC meeting, which is in August. Larry men- d. M-25 and VM-26: VM-25, the health section Vtioned that there are four major areas where there is still that essentially continues the current rules forwork needed: these are the net premium approach being health insurance, is now finished. The VM-26worked on by the ACLI; more work on margins; asset section on credit insurance has been complet-issues including assumed spreads on reinvestment; and ed and was adopted for the initial Valuationmortality. Manual. e. M-30, 31, PBR Reporting and Review: Katie VValuation Manual Campbell heads this effort. VM-30 has alreadyAs with the last Life and Health Actuarial Task Force been adopted for the preliminary Valuation(LHATF) meeting, much of the meeting was spent Manual. A new version of VM-31 was exposedreviewing the work of the LHATF subgroups working for comment.on various sections of the Valuation Manual: f. M-50, 51, PBR Experience Reporting: Fred V a. M-00, 01, Process and Coordination: Mike V Andersen is heading this effort. The ACLI has Boerner heads the LHATF team on this part of requested that data collection should be used the Manual (as well as heading the Academy to create an industry table, but individual com- team on the Valuation Manual in general). One pany data should come directly from companies. issue is determining the scope of the Manual Updated drafts on these documents were exposed from day one—it appears that the answer may for comments. be a simple test to determine which life insur- ance products shall be covered and which will be excluded from the Manual. Variable annuities Related Issues are in, while fixed annuities will not make the There were a number of topics discussed at LHATF, 2009 Manual. There is still work to be done on most related to SVL and the Valuation Manual. These definitions that is expected to be completed in include: the next couple of weeks. PBA Overview: I gave a brief presentation on behalf b. M-20, Life: Pete Weber heads the LHATF V of the Academy’s Life Practice Council and Life group on VM-20. Pete has had numerous con- Financial Soundness/Risk Management Committee. I ference calls on VM-20, and most of the work stated that although we continue to support PBA, we CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 19
NAIC Update … | FROM PAGE 19 have concerns that the PBR project is deviating from its looking to develop new valuation tables for guaran- original intent, with an abundance of rules and margins teed and simplified issues. A survey on these products being considered. has been sent to companies to determine how to best approach this project. Preferred Mortality: Tom Rhodes gave a report on credibility, based on a study he had done on behalf Net Premium Approach: John Bruins continued dis- of the SOA. Note that this report is available on the cussing the net premium approach to PBA reserving, SOA website (www.soa.org). He also referred to the which the ACLI states is needed for federal income PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study performed for tax deductibility of reserves. The ACLI has submitted the SOA, which is also available on the SOA website. some proposed changes to VM-20 to handle the net The studies will be important for the determination of premium approach. Note that this is the biggest open assumptions such as mortality under PBA. Tom stated issue on the life insurance PBA reserves. that one needs margins because of random fluctuations, and for the misestimate of experience assumptions. RBC C3 Phase 2, and Actuarial Guideline 43: The Mary Bahna-Nolan provided an update on preferred consulting firm Oliver Wyman provided a presentation mortality work performed by the Academy of Actuaries on its observations regarding VA statutory account- and Society of Actuaries. Mary suggested that revisions ing results. One observation was that companies with be made to the VM-20 section to remove the require- established hedging programs were seeing an impact on ment to tie the mortality assumptions to a CSO table. statutory results that was not intuitive. As a result some Mary stated that they are working to incorporate cred- companies may have modified some of their hedg- ibility work into VM-20. One open question is how to ing strategies to provide better statutory results, even state a margin on mortality assumptions without raising though such modifications may have not been optimal tax issues. Mary also mentioned that the group is con- with respect to hedging for the underlying risks. Other tinuing to target 2012 for a new mortality table. observations were that the AG43 standard scenario was the dominant reserve for a majority of companies Payout Annuities: Mary Bahna-Nolan provided an (as of 12/31/09), that the AG43 standard scenario has update on the joint SOA/Academy group. The group is opposing and decreased interest rate sensitivity as looking at developing a new valuation table. The expe- compared to the stochastic results, and that aggregate rience study portion has been completed. The SOA/ reinsurance produced strange reserve patterns in the Academy group is working on applying proper loads standard scenario. Oliver Wyman stated that it was to the experience, including an improvement scale in premature to make any recommendations until further the valuation table. Note to companies in this market: study was undertaken. The firm expects to publish a the annuitant mortality has improved dramatically, paper next month on its findings and to follow that with particularly at larger sizes. This should be considered educational seminars. (Editor’s Note: This article was in annuity product development. written at the time of the March NAIC meetings. The aforementioned paper may be published before this Guaranteed/Simplified Issue: Mary Bahna-Nolan issue’s publication date.) gave an update on a new SOA/Academy group that is Economic Scenarios: Fred Anderson heads a group examining economic scenarios. The group has changed … the annuitant mortality has improved dramati- the ultimate mean rate compared to the Academy’s cally, particularly at larger sizes. work. (Note that Nancy Bennett heads the Academy’s Economic Scenarios Implementation Work Group, and has an updated scenario model that is on the Academy’s website.)20 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!
Prescribed Default Costs to be used on Existing Fixed Income Investments: Gary Falde and AlanRouthenstein gave an update on the work on prescribedspreads. They provided an amendment to VM-20 tocover these changes.Margins: LHATF reversed an earlier decision, anddetermined that specified margins are not neededfor any assumptions other than mortality. For otherassumptions, guidance already exists in the Manualthat conservatism should be considered, particularlyfor uncertainty.Updates to the Standard Nonforfeiture Law: JohnMacBain gave a brief update on this group. A draftreport has been sent to the Academy’s tax work-ing group. A report will likely be made available toLHATF in the next few months. • Grandfathering: the new rules will not apply to existing plans.Actuarial Guideline 25: John MacBain gave an • Rates must be based on the entire book of businessupdate on the Academy’s work on Actuarial Guideline and cannot be based on each plan separately.25. This guideline discusses nonforfeiture for pre- • The NAIC expects that LHATF, and particularlyneed contracts, making some exceptions to rules for the Accident & Health Working Group, will playthese small policies. They recommended the limit for a major role in helping the NAIC develop modelsthese exemptions be increased to CPI—increasing the and reports.$10,000 threshold for the exemption up to $16,875for this year. LHATF voted to expose the Academy’sversion of the changes to Actuarial Guideline 25 for Life Risk Based Capital Working30 days. Group Philip Barlow ran the RBC meeting held on MarchFederal Health Bill Update: There was a presentation 25, 2010. The RBC C3 Phase 3 implementation wason the Federal Health Bill by Brian Webb, from the delayed until 12/31/11.NAIC. He stated that: • The NAIC is to develop a report in 2010 to cre- The ACLI is addressing basic and intermediate hedges ate a uniform definition of items that go into the in the work it is doing regarding a Derivatives Risk calculation of the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) and Mitigation Proposal. to create a standardized methodology for the cal- culation. The ACLI sent out an update on March 24 with respect • Rebates will be required if the MLR is not met. to commercial mortgage loans. It expects to complete a • The Treasury was not given the authority to study and produce a final report by the end of the third approve rates, but it will monitor rates. quarter of 2010. • The Secretary must come up with a National Reinsurance plan for early retirees. There will be Fred Andersen presented the report from the Casualty a requirement for payments into a fund, and each Actuarial Task Force (CATF) C3 Phase II Results state is to determine how it will collect funds. Subgroup. Fred reported the subgroup’s five main The NAIC is to help develop risk corridors and observations, and suggested that conference calls be profiles. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 Product Matters! | JUNE 2010 | 21
NAIC Update … | FROM PAGE 21 scheduled to discuss them in detail. The five observa- herding the PBA project through the various NAIC tions include: results were lower than expected; docu- Committees, is a subgroup of this group. The SMI had mentation did not provide enough information to assess a number of meetings in Denver. Unfortunately they the quality of the numbers; companies were inconsis- coincided with the LHATF meetings, so I was unable to tent with respect to the setting of key assumptions; attend. However, these meetings have promoted good the TAR calculation is very volatile; and companies discussions on some fundamental issues, e.g., what that did not choose to take credit for risk mitigation is the purpose of regulatory capital? The work of the programs did not provide any documentation regarding solvency modernization initiative group may have a such programs. significant impact on companies in the future, so it will be an interesting group to monitor. Solvency Modernization Initiative The Solvency Modernization Initiative (SMI) group is Summary a new Commissioner level group based on an NAIC In summary, PBA has made significant progress over initiative to examine reserves and solvency on a broad the past couple of years—we are hoping the finish line basis, also considering what is happening globally. will be reached soon! The PBR (EX) group, which is charged with shep- NEW REPORT: COST OF IMPLEMENTING A PRINCIPLE-BASED FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING RESERVES AND CAPITAL SURVEY RESULTS Review the results of a survey on life insurer perspectives and preparedness levels for implement- ing a principle-based framework for determining reserves and capital. Forty-eight companies participated in the study and offered insight into the stages of their planning, expected cost levels and concerns for implementing the new approach. The report also details additional observations Towers Watson obtained through follow-up interviews with some of the study participants. View the report today at http://www.soa.org/pbasurvey.22 | JUNE 2010 | Product Matters!