One of the Club’s most important objectives has been to maintain underwriting discipline in order to deliver a predictable and consistent financial result for our Members.
Over the past eight years this focus on stability of underwriting result has produced an average combined ratio of approximately 100%. This has been achieved despite changes in the claims profile.
In recent years, generally favourable claims experience and rising capital levels have depressed premium rates across the market, exposing the underwriting result to increases in claims activity. In the past that exposure would have come from the generality of all claims but, over the past ten years, the shape of the Club’s claims profile has changed. The attritional claims (those with a cost below $0.5m) have dropped dramatically in number and in cost and now represent a third of the total cost of claims as opposed to half ten years ago. This change in the claims profile means that the Club is now much more exposed to even a moderate increase in the number of large claims. 2018 has seen just such an increase in both the Club’s own claims and the cost of the Pool.
Twelve claims, each with a cost over $3 million, have been notified to the Club during the 2018 policy year compared to an average of six over the previous ten policy years. The cost associated with the six additional claims above the average was nearly $40 million or 15% on the combined ratio.
This additional cost increased the combined ratio for the financial year to 114%. This is above the Club’s acceptable range and, although the cost of large claims may be exceptional, it highlights the need for future action on premium rates.
Strong capital position
The underwriting result for the year demonstrates the importance of scale and strong capital. The Club remains financially strong with free reserves of $505 million even after allowing for the cost of the 2018 year and repayment of the hybrid capital in August 2018. The Club has retained its S&P rating of A (Stable).
This Solvency and Financial Condition Report (“SFCR”) covers the Business and Performance of the Association, its System of Governance, Risk Profile, Valuation for Solvency Purposes and Capital Management.
The ultimate Administrative Body that has the responsibility for all of these matters is the Association’s Board of Directors, with the help of various governance and control functions that it has put in place to monitor and manage the business. The Consolidated Group Solvency Capital Requirement (“SCR”) has been calculated using the standard formula. The Group intends to seek approval to use its internal model, which has already been approved for the subsidiary undertaking, for the calculation of the SCR at Group level.
For SCR purposes the Association’s total eligible own funds stood at $637 million. This includes ancillary own funds available to the Association’s subsidiary undertaking, The United Kingdom Mutual Assurance Association (Europe) Limited (“UK Europe” or “UKE”) as approved by UK Europe’s regulator.
The AOF available to UKE represents only the element of funds that would be retained within UKE in the event of a supplementary call. Although the balance of funds are payable to UKB these are not incorporated within Group eligible own funds. The Group intends to apply for the full AOF allowance which, if approved, would increase tier 2 eligible own funds by $148 million.
Eligible own funds cover the SCR (of $375 million) by 169.9% and the Minimum Consolidated Group SCR (“MCR”) (of $40.4 million) by 1,500.4%.
The UK Club has entered into a closing agreement with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This closing agreement secures exemption for the Club from Section 4371 Excise Tax, which applies to insurance premiums paid to a foreign insurer or reinsurer when the exemption is based on the provisions of an income tax treaty to which the United States is a party. The UK Club is now listed on the IRS website as a party to a closing agreement with the IRS.
For more information on the IRS closing agreement, please see the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/International-Businesses/Exemption-from-Section-4371-Excise-Tax