You are here

Policyholder Behaviour in Extreme Conditions

This Working Party aims to understand how extreme conditions can trigger unexpected policyholder behaviour that significantly impacts insurers. We seek to understand the drivers of such behaviour, so that companies can better manage the consequences of extreme conditions should these occur

Evidence from the past

We researched public domain material on causes of Insurance Company failures around the world. We found no examples in which policyholder behaviour was instrumental in bringing about the demise or near-demise of any insurer. However, policyholder behaviour has sometimes featured as a key factor in accelerating such demise once the process is triggered.

This suggests that events of interest are likely to arise as a result of unique combinations of circumstances. This also seems reasonable, since companies (and regulators) generally learn from past events.

In view of this, we expect that the main benefit of studying policyholder behaviour in extreme situations will be to help companies recognise such potential situations more quickly. This should help them take appropriate action to mitigate risks or to exploit new opportunities.

Scenarios

We are examining a range of scenarios that might provoke significant levels of unexpected policyholder behaviour.

It is clearly impossible to consider every extreme situation that might arise. Indeed, situations tend to become extreme precisely because they are unexpected! Nevertheless, we have tried to make our list of scenarios as varied as possible, and are considering:

  • Non-financial catastrophes
  • Major dislocations of financial markets
  • Medical advances
  • State intervention in markets
  • Social/anthropological change

We are considering policyholder behaviour under these scenarios using insights from behavioural economics. This should help to identify to what extent our intuitive understanding of behaviour in these scenarios might be misleading.

Modelling

We are investigating ways to model policyholder behaviour in extreme conditions since this will help to:

  • Deepen understanding of the dynamics, interactions and key drivers of the situations being studied
  • Share understanding of behaviour in as-yet-unobserved situations with a wider audience
  • Explore the range of possible outcomes, including unexpected ones
  • Identify key drivers of extreme behaviour and any “tipping points"
  • Help to recognise warning signs earlier as a scenario unfolds
  • Identify and test possible interventions to mitigate or take advantage of an emerging situation.

It will be difficult – if not impossible – to estimate suitable statistical parameters for a stochastic model. It is unclear how any such model’s structure might change under extreme conditions. More fundamentally, we are likely to be interested in variables that stochastic approaches do not usually model explicitly.

We are therefore exploring Agent Based Modelling and Systems Dynamics Modelling – two alternative modelling techniques that might be more helpful.

Outputs

Chair: David Graham
Memebership: 4
Established 2012

 

Related documents

Contact Details

If you want more information about this research working party please contact the Communities Team.

professional.communities@actuaries.org.uk

Filter or search events

Start date
E.g., 19/07/2019
End date
E.g., 19/07/2019

Events calendar

  • Implications of 2019 IFRS 17 Exposure Draft

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    24 July 2019

    Fully booked.

    The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) recently published an Exposure Draft (ED) of limited changes to its insurance contracts standard IFRS 17, effective date 2022.

  • Insurance Investment Roundtable with the IFoA & PRA - 25 July 2019

    EY Offices 1 More London Place London, SE1 2AF
    25 July 2019

    Fully booked.

    The IFoA hosts regular roundtable meetings with the PRA on best practice in insurance investment and the application of the Prudent Person Principle, which governs insurance investment under Solvency II.

  • SIAS Event: Climate Zero to Climate Hero

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    3 September 2019 - 4 September 2019

    Spaces available

    An introductory session to help you get ahead with climate change.

    • Science, terminology and initiatives: handy facts to keep in your back pocket 
    • Getting your point across: how to influence people and avoid common traps and pitfalls
    • Taking action: what are actuaries expected to do...and what are we actually doing?
  • KSS event – The Regulatory Perspective

    Deloitte Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    5 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk, presented by the FCA Head of Department in Scotland, will focus on the following 3 main areas:

    • FCA business plan priorities
    • The future of regulation
    • FCA Engagement in Scotland
  • Sessional Research Event - Risk Margin Working Party

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 September 2019

    Spaces available

    For life insurers in the UK, the risk margin is one of the most controversial aspects of the Solvency II regime. Following its implementation, the risk margin came under considerable criticism for being too large and too sensitive to interest rate movements. These criticisms are particularly valid for annuity business – such business is of great significance to the national system for retirement provision. This criticism has led to political interest, and the risk margin was a major element of the Treasury Committee inquiry into Solvency II.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year. 

     

  • The Future of the Actuarial Profession

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    3 October 2019

    Fully booked.

     

    Three actuaries – and CEOs – discuss their views on how the business world is changing and what that might mean for actuaries in the future.

  • Spaces available

    Have you ever thought about working in wider fields? Would you like to play a role in the fight against climate change to make the planet better? 

    It can be difficult to do this - but seeing an example you can follow can make it more realistic. In this ‘green’ case study a template is outlined to show how actuaries can apply their skills more broadly - and in doing so, to make a difference.

  • Sessional Meeting - Autonomous Vehicles and impacts on the wider insurance industry

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    28 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries is running a sessional meeting on autonomous vehicles on 28th October.  The session will showcase the work of the IFoA “Autonomous Vehicles” working party alongside a number of expert external presenters. 

  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Spaces available

    The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    2 December 2019

    Fully booked.

    The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019: Live Streaming

    Webinar 
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    Watch the live stream of this year's Autumn Lecture with guest speaker Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP.