Overview of Solvency II
Solvency II is a piece of legislation (directive to be exact) adopted by the European Parliament on 22nd April 2009 and is a fundamental review of the capital adequacy regime for European insurers and reinsurers. Planned effective date is October 2012 and it aims to establish a revised set of EU-wide capital requirements, valuation techniques and risk management standards that will replace the current Solvency I requirements. (2).
The full text of this legislation can be found here. Powers have been granted to CEIOPS in order to produce consulting papers and to engage with the industry in order ensure uniformity and clarity.
A section of the proposed framework deals with Standards of Data Quality which is outlined in a consultation paper from CEIOPS, referred to as CP43. (3). Data, according to this paper, is used to refer to all the information which is directly or indirectly needed in order to carry out a valuation of technical provisions, in particular enabling the use of appropriate actuarial and statistical methodologies, in line with the underlying (re)insurance obligations, undertaking’s specificities and with the principle of proportionality. In the context of this Paper, data comprises numerical, census or classification information but not qualitative information. Assumptions are not regarded as data, but it is noted that the use of data is an important basis in the development of actuarial assumptions.
Whereas this Paper is focused on setting out advice in the context of a valuation of technical provisions, it is noted that the issue of data quality is also relevant in other areas of a solvency assessment, for example for the calculation of the Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) using the standard formula or internal models.
From the materials I have been reading and through a breakfast (1) I attended here are some issues that I would like to flag up. The CP papers expand on the concept that data should be Accurate, Complete and Appropriate. In doing so they highlight the following potential gaps.
- Most IT policies focus on security. Substantial changes to policies will be required in order to ensure that we focus on data quality.
- As a group you will need to understand what data quality means within your context and how to measure it. This also requires documenting.
- Clear responsibility versus ownership of the data is required which also requires documenting. In my view this would be split between the business units and IT.
- You need to start looking at the technologies/tools required within your Group in order to ensure data quality.
- The subtleties of the text indicate a focus on both transactional and non transactional data.
- Both regular and adhoc types of data will require a degree of monitoring and appropriate controls in place to deal with both types.
- A move to focusing away from the accuracy of the data but rather its relevance and content is required.
- Additional documentation required with regular updating.
- Decisions to data quality deviations now require specific documenting and approvals.
In order to ensure accuracy, any data deficiencies should be rectified, with each adjustment justified and documented and should not overwrite the raw data. It was also hinted that a more detailed review of the data is required to ensure that it is valid and appropriate. In other words the fact that data made it from your store system through a multitude of layers to a warehouse does not absolve you from the responsibility of ensuring that the original data was correct. This, in reality, leads me to believe that data profiling and review of individual pieces of data with appropriate monitoring tools is required. This applies to both external and internal data.
Addressing the issue of data quality will go to the core of your IT department and if the hype is to be believed will require substantial investment in ensuring that your processes and tools are up to the task. This will have an impact on your IT strategy both from a technology and approach view.
Article 46 of the Directive Consolidated Text referred to as Insurance and reinsurance (Solvency II)(recast) defines the responsibility of the Internal Auditors (IA) within the scope of Solvency II. (4). This article requires the usual stance of being independent and specifically requires that IA provide an effective internal audit function which includes an evaluation of the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control system and other elements of the governance system. (This gets a bit circular as the resolution passed under (18a) says that the governance system includes the risk management function, the compliance function, the internal audit function and the actuarial function, which implies that they audit the same system that they are part off).
CP33 from CEIOPS deals with the advice on Governance and makes reference to the functions of Internal Audit. (5).
Although the requirements do not appear to be any different from any IA business as usual functions they are advised to submit a written report on its findings to the administrative or management body at least annually. It makes sense then to assume that IA have a full understanding of the Solvency II requirements.
Solvency II is going to have quite an impact on the way we do business as an Insurance Company and is something that should be driven from the highest possible position in the company as it will require substantial resourcing. This initiative should not be driven from within one department.
1. Addressing the data and technology challenges of Solvency II. PriceWaterhouseCoopers. London : s.n., 2009.
2. Financial Services Authority. Insurance Risk Management: The Path to Solvency II. s.l. : Financial Services Authority, 2008.
3. CEIOPS. Consultation Paper No.43 - Technical Provisions - Article 85 f Standards for Data Quality. Frankfurt : CEIOPS, 2009.
4. European Parliment. Insurance and reinsurance (Solvency II) (recast). Strasbourg : s.n., 2009.
5. CEIOPS. Consultation Paper No.33 - Draft CEIOPS Advice for Level 2 Implementing Measures on Solvency II: System of Governance. Frankfurt : s.n., 2009.