Global equity markets are near all-time highs, bond markets are relatively calm, and currency volatility is reasonably low. This benign state is being fuelled, at least in part, by optimism about the US economy coupled with reduced fears of an ongoing swing towards populism in Europe.
The European Commission is allowing the Insurance Block Exemption Regulation (IBER) to lapse on 31 March. This regulation gave the industry a safe harbour from competition law in relation to the collection of market-level data and pooling of underwriting capacity where certain criteria were met.
The latest sigma study from the Swiss Re Institute reveals that Global insured losses from disasters were USD 54 billion in 2016, up from USD 38 billion in the previous year.with total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters amounting to USD 175 billion in 2016, almost twice the USD 94 billion seen in 2015, .
What is a sustainable income rate? Now, this is both straightforward to define, and also very difficult to define. It is not hard to put together a high-level definition referring to unspecified likelihoods and probabilities. For example, we might define the sustainable income rate as a level of income (potentially increasing over time) that an individual can withdraw from their assets each year, such that they have a probability, P, of not running out of money within a particular period of time, T.
New research from Aviva has found that only around 1 in 10 (9%) people who have received a cash bonus in the past have opted to have at least part of it paid into their pension – known as bonus exchange. Over a third (39%) had instead chosen to spend it on a treat, like shopping or a holiday. By opting to take it in their pay packet, employees are paying tax and national insurance on their bonuses – a bill that can run into the hundreds or even thousands of pounds depending on the size of the bonus.
The passing of the Brexit Bill through Parliament will enable Theresa May to formally write to the European Union and trigger Article 50 on 29 March – effectively firing the starting gun on the UK’s formal exit process and negotiations. That process has to conclude in two years’ time – unless an extension is agreed by all members.
Aegon UK has today published claims data which shows a total of £123.4 million was paid in claims for life (including terminal illness), critical illness (CI) and income protection (IP), helping more than 1,300 families and businesses in 2016.
From 6 April this year, the new Bereavement Support Payment will replace the current suite of State bereavement benefits (Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance). On the face of it, the changes appear to be beneficial, with a refocus on the additional and more immediate costs of bereavement support for the 18-month period immediately following the bereavement (rather than for 12 months), and no loss of benefit on remarriage or re-partnering. However, many families will be worse off, especially those with children where the current Widowed Parent’s Allowance is paid until such time as Child Benefit stops.
Scottish Widows implemented four pensioner buy-ins in 2016, its first full calendar year in the market, insuring the benefits of more than 10,000 pension scheme members, with total premiums of around £1.5 billion.
According to new analysis by Royal London, on figures published by HM Revenue and Customs, reveal a doubling in the number of mothers missing out unnecessarily on vital pension rights because of a change in the rules on child benefit, Together, these mothers have lost hundreds of millions of pounds in retirement.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has clarified its expectations by publishing a revised description of a professional trustee for consultation. TPR’s initiative seeks to raise standards of governance and administration to protect member benefits by being clearer about what it expects trustees to do, and being swifter to take action where standards are not met.
Aon Hewitt has announced that it has completed the first unwinding of a longevity swap. In December 2016, the PGL Pension Scheme agreed to transform the insurance terms of the swap, replacing it with a £1.2bn annuity with Phoenix Life, which added to the risk transferred from the scheme.
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has today (Thursday) launched a consultation outlining how it intends to develop the Pension Protection Levy for the next three year period, or triennium, starting in 2018/19. The consultation involves a detailed set of proposals together with supporting roadshows and webinars.
Allianz Global Assistance UK has confirmed that it will cover UK customer travel insurance claims made because of loss of, or damage to, electronic devices checked in with hold baggage by passengers flying to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. This follows an announcement from government that there will be imminent changes to aviation security measures for selected inbound flights from these countries, resulting in the restrictions to devices taken on board.
Having told the UK that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, Theresa May is now set to trigger Article 50 on 29th March. While the economy has shown resilience beyond what was expected by most forecasters, huge uncertainty still looms on the horizon. In a Brexit update Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)’s European Economist Hetal Mehta addresses:
In a response to the DWP’s Review of Auto Enrolment – initial questions consultation, the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) has outlined a way in which more Gig economy workers might be enrolled into workplace pensions. The response also calls for greater flexibility in the way AE contribution rates are applied, ahead of a longer-term plan to increase minimum contributions.