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Chapter 4: INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS

1-INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS
The most important insurance company operations consist of the following:
Ratemaking
Underwriting
Production
Claim settlement
Reinsurance
Insurers also engage in other operations, such as accounting, legal services, loss control, and information systems.
2-RATING AND RATEMAKING
Ratemaking refers to the pricing of insurance and the calculation of insurance premiums .
A rate is the price per unit of insurance.
An exposure unit is the unit of measurement used in insurance pricing, which varies by line of insurance.
The person who determines rates and premiums is known as an actuary . An actuary is a highly skilled mathematician who is involved in all phases of insurance company operations, including planning, pricing, and research.
3-UNDERWRITING
Underwriting refers to the process of selecting, classifying, and pricing applicants for insurance . The underwriter is the person who decides to accept or reject an application.
Statement of Underwriting Policy:Underwriting starts with a clear statement of underwriting policy.
An insurer must establish an underwriting policy that is consistent with company objectives.
4-PRODUCTION
The term production refers to the sales and marketing activities of insurers. Agents who sell insurance are frequently referred to as producers .
Life insurers have an agency or sales department. This department is responsible for recruiting and training new agents and for the supervision of general agents, branch office managers, and local agents.
Property and casualty insurers have marketing departments. To assist agents in the field, special agents may also be appointed.
A special agent is a highly specialized technician who provides local agents in the field with technical help and assistance with their marketing problems.
5-CLAIMS SETTLEMENT
Every insurance company has a claims division or department for adjusting claims. This section of the chapter examines the basic objectives in adjusting claims, the different types of claim adjustors, and the various steps in the claim-settlement process.
Basic Objectives in Claims Settlement:
Verification of a covered loss
Fair and prompt payment of claims
Personal assistance to the insured
6-REINSURANCE
Reinsurance is an arrangement by which the primary insurer that initially writes the insurance transfers to another insurer (called the reinsurer) part or all of the potential losses associated with such insurance .
The primary insurer that initially writes the insurance is called the ceding company .
The insurer that acceptspart or all of the insurance from the ceding com pany is called the reinsurer .
The amount of insurance retained by the ceding company for its own account is called the retention limit or net retention .
The amount of insurance ceded to the reinsurer is known as the cession

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Chapter 4: INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS

  1. 1. Chapter 4 INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS By:Marya Sholevar
  2. 2. INSURANCE COMPANY OPERATIONS The most important insurance company operations consist of the following: ● Ratemaking ● Underwriting ● Production ● Claim settlement ● Reinsurance Insurers also engage in other operations, such as accounting, legal services, loss control, and information systems.
  3. 3. RATING AND RATEMAKING ● Ratemaking refers to the pricing of insurance and the calculation of insurance premiums . ● A rate is the price per unit of insurance. ● An exposure unit is the unit of measurement used in insurance pricing, which varies by line of insurance. ● The person who determines rates and premiums is known as an actuary . An actuary is a highly skilled mathematician who is involved in all phases of insurance company operations, including planning, pricing, and research.
  4. 4. RATING AND RATEMAKING ● Rating is a process of multiplying a rate determined by actuaries by the number of exposure units, and then adjusting by various rating plans. ● In life insurance, the actuary determines the premiums for life and health insurance policies and annuities also determine the legal reserves a company needs for future obligations. ● In property and casualty insurance, actuaries also determine the rates for different lines of insurance and also determine the adequacy of loss reserves,allocate expenses, and compile statistics for company management and for state regulatory
  5. 5. RATING AND RATEMAKING ● In life insurance, the actuary studies important statistical data on births, deaths, marriages, disease, employment, retirement, and accidents.Based on this information, the actuary determines the premiums for life and health insurance policies and annuities. ● The objectives of calculate premiums are make the business ● profitable, enable the company to compete effectively with other insurers, and allow the company to pay claims and expenses as they occur.
  6. 6. UNDERWRITING Underwriting refers to the process of selecting, classifying, and pricing applicants for insurance . The underwriter is the person who decides to accept or reject an application. Statement of Underwriting Policy:Underwriting starts with a clear statement of underwriting policy. ● An insurer must establish an underwriting policy that is consistent with company objectives.
  7. 7. UNDERWRITING ● The insurer’s underwriting policy is determined by top-level management in charge of underwriting. ● The underwriting policy is stated in detail in an underwriting guide that specifies the lines of insurance to be written; territories to be developed; forms and rating plans to be used; acceptable, borderline, and prohibited business; amounts of insurance to be written; business that requires approval by a senior underwriter; and other underwriting details.
  8. 8. Basic Underwriting Principles 1.Attain an underwriting profit:The primary objective of underwriting is to attain an underwriting profit. The objective is to produce a profitable book of business. 2.Select prospective insureds according to the company’s underwriting standards:the underwriters should select only those insureds whose actual loss experience is not likely to exceed the loss experience assumed in the rating structure with purpose of reducing adverse selection against the insurer. 3.Provide equity among the policyholders:Means
  9. 9. Steps in Underwriting After the insurer’s underwriting policy is established, it must be communicated to the sales force. Initial underwriting starts with the agent in the field. ● Agent as First Underwriter ● Collecting Informations ● Making an Underwriting Decision
  10. 10. Agent as First Underwriter ● Agent as First Underwriter:This step is often called field underwriting. The agent is told what types of applicants are acceptable, borderline, or prohibited. In property and casualty insurance, the agent often has authority to bind the company immediately. Thus, it is important that the agent follow company policy when soliciting applicants for insurance. In life insurance, the agent must also solicitapplicants in accordance with the company’s underwriting policy.
  11. 11. Collecting Informations The underwriter requires certain information in deciding whether to accept or reject an applicant for insurance. Important sources of information: ● Application. The type of information required depends on the type of insurance requested.In property insurance, provides the physical features of the building and in life insurance provides age; gende... ● Agent’s report. Many insurers require the agent or broker to give an evaluation of the prospective insured. In life agent may be asked how long he or she has known the applicant, the applicant’s annual
  12. 12. Collecting Informations ● Inspection report. In property insurance, the company may require an inspection report by some outside agency, especially if the underwriter suspects moral hazard.In life insurance, the report may provide information on the applicant’s financial condition, marital status,... ● Physical inspection. In property insurance and casualty insurance, the underwriter may require a physical inspection before the application is approved. ● Physical examination. In life insurance, a physical exam may be required to determine if the applicant
  13. 13. Making an Underwriting Decision After the underwriter evaluates the information, an underwriting decision must be made. There are three basic underwriting decisions with respect to an initial application for insurance: ● Accept the application: ● Accept the application subject to certain restrictions or modifications ● Reject the application Many insurers now use computerized underwrit ing for certain personal lines of insurance that can be standardized, such as auto and homeowners insurance. As a result, underwriting decisions can be
  14. 14. Other Underwriting Considerations ● Rate adequacy and underwriting . Property and casualty insurers are more willing to underwrite new business for a specific line if rates are considered adequate. ● Reinsurance and underwriting . Availability of reinsurance may result in more liberal underwriting. However, if reinsurance cannot be obtained on favorable terms, underwriting may be more restrictive. ● Renewal underwriting. In life insurance, policies are not cancellable. In property and casualty insurance, most policies can be canceled or not
  15. 15. PRODUCTION ● The term production refers to the sales and marketing activities of insurers. Agents who sell insurance are frequently referred to as producers . ● Life insurers have an agency or sales department. This department is responsible for recruiting and training new agents and for the supervision of general agents, branch office managers, and local agents. ● Property and casualty insurers have marketing departments. To assist agents in the field, special agents may also be appointed. ● A special agent is a highly specialized technician
  16. 16. PRODUCTION ● Professionalism in Selling means that the modern agent should be a competent professional who has a high degree of technical knowledge in a particular area of insurance and who also places the needs of his or her clients first. ● The professional agent identifies potential insureds, analyzes their insurance needs, and recommends a product to meet their needs. After the sale, the agent has the responsibility of providing follow-up service to clients to keep their insurance programs up to date. Finally, a professional agent abides by a code of ethics.
  17. 17. PRODUCTION ● Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) desig-nation for professionals who are working in the financial services industry. ● Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) is professional designation programs for agents and other personnel in property and casualty insurance. ● The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. ● Many agents in property and liability insurance have been awarded the Certified Insurance Counselor
  18. 18. CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ● Every insurance company has a claims division or department for adjusting claims. This section of the chapter examines the basic objectives in adjusting claims, the different types of claim adjustors, and the various steps in the claim-settlement process. ● Basic Objectives in Claims Settlement: – Verification of a covered loss – Fair and prompt payment of claims – Personal assistance to the insured
  19. 19. Basic Objectives in Claims Settlement ● The first objective in settling claims is to verify that a covered loss has occurred . This step involves determining whether a specific person or property is covered under the policy, and the extent of the coverage. ● The second objective is the fair and prompt payment of claims . If a valid claim is denied, the fundamental social and contractual purpose of protecting the insured is defeated. Also, the insurer’s reputation may be harmed, and the sales of new policies may be adversely affected. ● A third objective is to provide personal assistance
  20. 20. Basic Objectives in Claims Settlement ● Fair payment means that the insurer should avoid excessive claim settlements and should resist the payment of fraudulent claims, because they will ultimately result in higher premiums. ● Some unfair claim practices prohibited by these laws include the following: – Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation. – Not attempting in good faith to provide prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear. – Compelling insureds or beneficiaries to institute lawsuits
  21. 21. Types of Claims Adjustors ● The person who adjusts a claim is known as a claims adjustor . The major types of adjustors include the following: – Agent – Company adjustor – Independent adjustor – Public adjustor ● An insurance agent often has authority to settle small first-party claims up to some maximum limit.he insurer, such as a small theft loss by the insured. The insured submits the claim directly to the agent, who has the authority to pay up to some
  22. 22. Types of Claims Adjustors ● A company adjustor can settle a claim. The adjustor is usually a salaried employee who repre-sents only one company. After notice of the loss is received, the company adjustor will investigate the claim, determine the amount of loss, and arrange for payment. ● An independent adjustor can also be used to adjust claims.An independent adjustor is an organization or individual that adjusts claims for a fee.Property and casualty insurers often use independent adjustors when a catastrophic loss occurs in a given geographical area.
  23. 23. Steps in Settlement of a Claim ● There are several important steps in settling a claim – Notice of loss must be given. – The claim is investigated. – A proof of loss may be required. – A decision is made concerning payment. ● Notice of Loss The first step is to notify the insurer of a loss. A provision concerning notice of loss is usually stated in the policy. A typical provision requires the insured to give notice immediately or as soon as possible after the loss has occurred.
  24. 24. Steps in Settlement of a Claim ● Investigation of the Claim :After notice is received, the next step is to investigate the claim.The most important questions include the following: – Did the loss occur while the policy was in force? – Does the policy cover the peril that caused the loss? – Does the policy cover the property destroyed or damaged in the loss? – Is the claimant entitled to recover? – Did the loss occur at an insured location? – Is the type of loss covered? – Is the claim fraudulent?
  25. 25. Steps in Settlement of a Claim ● Filing a Proof of Loss: An adjustor may require a proof of loss before the claim is paid. A proof of loss is a sworn statement by the insured that substantiates the loss. ● Decision Concerning Payment: After the claim is investigated, the adjustor must make a decision con-cerning payment. There are three possible decisions. – The claim can be paid . In most cases, the claim is paid promptly according to the terms of the policy. – The claim can be denied . The adjustor may believe that the policy does not cover the loss or that the claim is fraudulent.
  26. 26. REINSURANCE ● Reinsurance is an arrangement by which the primary insurer that initially writes the insurance transfers to another insurer (called the reinsurer) part or all of the potential losses associated with such insurance . ● The primary insurer that initially writes the insurance is called the ceding company . ● The insurer that acceptspart or all of the insurance from the ceding com pany is called the reinsurer . ● The amount of insurance retained by the ceding company for its own account is called the retention limit or net retention .
  27. 27. Reasons for Reinsurance ● The most important reasons include the following: – Increase underwriting capacity – Stabilize profits – Reduce the unearned premium reserve – Provide protection against a catastrophic loss ● Reinsurance also enables an insurer to retire from a territory or class of business and to obtain underwriting advice from the reinsurer.
  28. 28. Reasons for Reinsurance ● Increase Underwriting Capacity:The company may be asked to assume liability for losses in excess of its retention limit. Without reinsurance, the agent would have to place large amounts of insurance with several companies or not accept the risk. ● Stabilize Profits: An insurer may wish to avoid large fluctuations in annual financial results. Loss experience can fluctuate widely because of social and economic conditions, natural disasters, and chance. Reinsurance can be used to stabilize the effects of poor loss experience. ● Reduce the Unearned Premium Reserve: For
  29. 29. Reasons for Reinsurance ● The unearned premium reserve is a liability item on the insurer’s balance sheet that represents the unearned portion of gross premiums on all outstanding policies at the time of valuation .In effect, the unearned premium reserve reflects the fact that premiums are paid in advance, but the period of protection has not yet expired. As time goes on, part of the premium is considered earned, while the remainder is unearned. It is only after the period of protection has expired that the premium is fully earned. ● Reduce the unearned premium reserve: Reinsurance reduces the level of the unearned
  30. 30. Reasons for Reinsurance ● Provide Protection Against a Catastrophic Loss: Reinsurance can provide considerable protection to the ceding company that experiences a catastrophic loss. The reinsurer pays part or all of the losses that exceed the ceding company’s retention up to some specified maximum limit. ● Other Reasons for Reinsurance: – An insurer canu use reinsurance to retire from the business or from a given line of insurance or territory. – Reinsurance permits the insurer’s liabilities for existing insurance to be transferred to another carrier; thus, policyholders’ coverage remains undisturbed.
  31. 31. Types of Reinsurance ● There are two principal types of reinsurance: (1) facultative reinsurance and (2) treaty reinsurance. ● Facultative Reinsurance is an optional, case by case method that is used when the ceding company receives an application for insurance that exceeds its retention limit Reinsurance is not automatic. ● Reinsurance is not automatic. The primary insurer negotiates a separate contract with a reinsurer for each loss exposure for which reinsurance is desired. ● Advantage of Facultative reinsurance – Flexibility because it can be tailored to fit any type of case
  32. 32. Types of Reinsurance ● Disadvantages of Facultative reinsurance: – There is some uncertainty because the primary insurer does not know in advance whether a reinsurer will accept any part of the insurance. – There can also be a problem of delay because the policy will not be issued until reinsurance is obtained. – Finally, during periods of poor loss experience, reinsurance markets tend to tighten, and facultative reinsurance may be more costly and more difficult to obtain.
  33. 33. Types of Reinsurance ● Treaty reinsurance means the primary insurer has agreed to cede insurance to the reinsurer, and the reinsurer has agreed to accept the business . All business that falls within the scope of the agreement is automatically reinsured according to the terms of the treaty. ● Advantages of Treaty reinsurance – It is automatic, and no uncertainty or delay is involved. – It is also economical, because it is not necessary to shop around and negotiate reinsurance terms before the policy is written. ● Disadvantages of Treaty reinsurance
  34. 34. Methods for Sharing Losses ● There are two basic methods for sharing losses: (1) pro rata and (2) excess-of-loss. ● Under the pro rata method, the ceding company and reinsurer agree to share losses and premiums based on some proportion. ● Under the excess-of-loss method, the reinsurer pays only when covered losses exceed a certain level. ● The following reinsurance methods for the sharing of losses are examples of both methods: 1-Quota-share treaty 2-Surplus-share treaty 3- Excess-of-loss reinsurance 4-Reinsurance pool
  35. 35. Methods for Sharing Losses ● Quota-Share Treaty Under a quota-share treaty, the ceding company and reinsurer agree to share premiums and losses based on some proportion.The ceding company’s retention is stated as a percentage rather than as a dollar amount. ● Premiums are also shared based on the same agreed-on percentage.However, the reinsurer pays a ceding commission to the primary insurer to help compensate for the expenses incurred in writing the business. ● The major advantage of quota-share reinsurance is that the primary insurer’s unearned premium reserve
  36. 36. Methods for Sharing Losses ● Surplus-Share Treaty Under a surplus-share treaty,the reinsurer agrees to accept insurance in excess of the ceding insurer’s retention limit, up to some maximum amount. ● The retention limit is referred to as a line and is stated as a dollar amount . ● Under a surplus-share treaty, premiums are also shared based on the fraction of total insurance retained by each party. ● The principal advantage of a surplus-share treaty is that the primary insurer’s underwriting capacity on any single exposure is increased.
  37. 37. Methods for Sharing Losses ● Excess-of-loss reinsurance is designed largely for protection against a catastrophic loss. The reinsurer pays part or all of the loss that exceeds the ceding company’s retention limit up to some maximum level. ● Excess-of-loss reinsurance can be written to cover – (1) a single exposure, – (2) a single occurrence, such as a catastrophic loss from a tornado, – (3) excess losses when the primary insurer’s cumulative losses exceed a certain amount during some stated time period, such as a year.
  38. 38. Methods for Sharing Losses ● A reinsurance pool is an organization of insurers that underwrites insurance on a joint basis . ● Reinsurance pools have been formed because a single insurer alone may not have the financial capacity to write large amounts of insurance, but the insurers as a group can combine their financial resources to obtain the necessary capacity. ● The method for sharing losses and premiums varies depending on the type of reinsurance pool. – First, each pool member agrees to pay a certain percentage of every loss. – Another arrangement is similar to the excessof-loss
  39. 39. ALTERNATIVES TO TRADITIONAL REINSURANCE ● Many insurers and reinsurers are now using the capital markets as an alternative to traditional reinsurance. ● Some insurers and reinsurers are using the capital markets to gain access to the capital of institutional investors. ● Securitization of Risk: means that an insurable risk is transferred to the capital markets through the creation of a financial instrument, such as a catastrophe bond, futures contract, options contract, or other financial instrument. ● These instruments are also called risk-linked
  40. 40. ALTERNATIVES TO TRADITIONAL REINSURANCE ● Catastrophe bonds are an excellent example of the securitization of risk. Catastrophe bonds are corporate bonds that permit the issuer of the bond to skip or reduce scheduled interest payments if a catastrophic loss occurs. ● The bonds are complex financial instruments issued by insurers and reinsurers and are designed to provide funds for catastrophic natural disaster losses. ● Catastrophe bonds are typically purchased by institutional investors seeking higher-yielding, fixed-income securities.

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