Capital implications of infrastructure assets for insurers under SAM

Infrastructure as an asset class is hardly a new idea. Retirement funds are attracted to the promise of higher turns, long-dated cash flows, and consistency with increasingly important ESG factors.  Insurers, unlikely retirement funds, have to hold risk-based capital against the risks inherent in their investments. This makes it more difficult to underestimate the risks […]

Just what are ancillary own funds?

Reading the Financial Soundness Standards for Insurers (FSIs) is an exercise that can only end in madness. I’m sufficiently familiar with them now that I mostly refer back to them for particularly tricky or thorny issues. Without fail, the words fail to clearly communicate exactly what was intended. Take ancillary capital as an example. To […]

Slides from micro insurance sessional meeting in 2018

I had several requests for these slides. At some point they should also be available on ASSA’s website, but that process seems to take a curiously long time. Here are the Micro insurance sessional 2018 slides for anyone interested, provided of course without warranty or guarantee at all and with the understanding that the views expressed are […]

Downwards counterfactual analysis

Stress and scenario testing are important risk assessment tools.  They also provide useful ways to prepare in advance for adverse scenarios so that management doesn’t have to create everything from first principles when something similar occurs. But trying to imagine scenarios, particularly very severe scenarios, isn’t straightforward. We don’t have many examples of very extreme […]

Alternatives to uncanny

This is a rant about people who are wrong on the internet.  Also, why Huffington Post is a platform for big bad wolves. And why the asymmetric information and importance of financial advice means it’s not okay. Maybe this is just part of Cunningham’s Law. Clickbait headline? Check. “3 Smart Alternatives to Life Insurance“ Numbered […]

Move over cholera, here’s the Black Death

The Black Death, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, wiped out 30 to 50 percent of Europe’s population between 1347 and 1351 Now, South Africa has been placed on high alert for a potential plague infection. Mortality rates are estimated anywhere between 30% and 100% without treatment. Many estimates are towards the top end of this […]