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New solvency assessment requirement elevates insurance regulation

The Philippines' adoption of Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA) standards is a positive development that will elevate the country's regulations to a higher standard, one more in line with more advanced regimes, says AM Best.

On 25 August 2022, the Insurance Commission issued a circular requiring life insurance companies, non-life insurance companies, and reinsurers to adopt their own risk and solvency assessment (ORSA) framework. This framework is in line with enterprise risk management (ERM) for solvency purposes to manage insurers' risks in an integrated manner.

ORSA builds on the risk-based capital framework introduced in 2020. It requires that insurance companies identify all material risks and risk correlations, quantify these risks and estimate capital requirements through risk modelling and stress testing.

In a new Best’s Commentary, “Philippines Insurers Adoption of ORSA Standards a Credit Positive,” AM Best states that by adopting ORSA, the Philippines insurance industry will be more aligned with markets such as the European Union, the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, Bermuda, and Japan.

“Formal establishment of an enterprise risk management (ERM) framework will aid in solvency by identifying, measuring, and managing risk in an ongoing and integrated manner,” said Mr. Jason Hopper, associate director, industry research and analytics, AM Best. “Insurance company managements will need to articulate to regulators how risk appetite, limits and capital requirements are consistent with their models and stress testing results. Insurers will also be required to implement procedures to monitor risk levels and adhere to limits.”

According to the commentary, just a minority of non-life companies—13 of 57 based on 2021 premiums—will meet the premium threshold set by the regulator for required implementation. What remains to be seen is how many companies that do not meet the threshold opt to implement ORSA.

AM Best views the management of an organization's exposure to potential earnings and capital volatility, and the maximization of value to the organization’s stakeholders, as the fundamental objectives of the organization's ERM programme.

Additionally, given the region’s exposure to natural catastrophes, stress testing will make the industry more resilient due to enhanced capital requirements and reinsurance partnerships.

(Re)insurers, that meet the annual premium threshold that makes it mandatory for them to implement ORSA, are required to submit their respective ORSA reports covering the 2023 financial year on or before the fourth quarter of 2024. For entities who meet the criteria for mandatory ORSA after FY2023, their respective ORSA reports shall be submitted no later than the fourth quarter following the subject financial year.



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