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IAIS identifies need to further develop insurance specific macroprudential surveillance

The current global financial crisis has highlighted the importance of surveillance of risks beyond the level of the individual firm. It has also brought to the fore the complexities inherent in capturing and making sense of risks that evolve rapidly in time and cut across geographical boundaries and financial sectors.

The bulk of existing literature on macroprudential surveillance has focused on the banking sector. International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) decided to conduct a survey to determine the extent to which insurance supervisors engage in macroprudential surveillance. The survey findings are included in the “Macroprudential Surveillance and (Re)Insurance” report and show that while most supervisors carry out macroprudential surveillance activities, the breath, reach and frequency of activities varies from supervisor to supervisor.

The most prevalent activities conducted by supervisors are insurance market analysis and analysis of the impact of macroeconomic variables on the insurance market. The focus tends to be on the analysis of domestic data with international data analysis receiving less attention.

Report released in September 2010, discusses macroprudential surveillance in insurance and reinsurance, looking at current issues and debates on the meaning, scope and value of macroprudential surveillance. The report also discusses current macroprudential surveillance practices among insurance supervisors as well as recent work at a global level.

The report identifies a critical knowledge gap with respect to insurance-specific macroprudential surveillance of a global nature. Peter Braumüller, Chair of the IAIS Executive Committee, noted that “through its Financial Stability Committee, the IAIS is currently engaged in strengthening global-level efforts in promoting financial stability. These efforts include contributing to the identification of macroprudential surveillance data and development of tools relevant to the insurance sector.”

Established in 1994, the IAIS represents insurance regulators and supervisors of some 190 jurisdictions in nearly 140 countries and has also more than 120 insurance professionals, insurers, reinsurers and trade associations as observers. The IAIS issues global insurance principles, standards and guidance papers, provides training and support on issues related to insurance supervision, and organises meetings and seminars for insurance supervisors. The IAIS works closely with other international institutions to promote financial stability.

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