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Chapter 26

Financial Operations of Private Insurers

Overview

This chapter examines the financial operations of insurance companies. In the first portion of the chapter,
two important financial statements, the balance sheet and the income and expense statement, are discussed.
Important entries on these financial statements are examined, as well as profitability measures. The
remainder of the chapter is devoted to rate making. After a discussion of business and regulatory rate
making objectives, rate making methods used in the property and casualty insurance industry are examined.
Life insurance ratemaking is covered in the appendix to Chapter 18.

Learning Objectives

After studying this chapter, you should be able to:


Understand the three major sections of the balance sheet for a property and casualty insurance
company: assets, liabilities, and policyholders surplus.
Identify the sources of revenue and types of expenses incurred by a property and casualty insurance
company.
Explain how profitability is measured in the property and casualty insurance industry.
Understand the balance sheet and income and expense statement of a life insurance company, and
explain how profitability is measured in the life insurance industry.
Explain the objectives of rate making in the property and casualty insurance industry and discuss the
basic rate making methods, including judgment rating, class rating, and merit rating.
Define the following:
Loss-adjustment expenses
Annual pro rata method
Loss ratio
Asset valuation reserve
Loss ratio method (loss reserves)
Balance sheet
Loss ratio method (of rating)
Case reserves
Loss reserve
Class rating
Merit rating
Combined ratio
Net gain from operations
Earned premiums
Overall operating ratio
Expense ratio
Policyholders surplus
Experience rating
Pure premium
Exposure unit
Pure premium method (of rating)
Gross premium
Rate
Gross rate
Reserve for amounts held on deposit
Income and expense statement
Retrospective rating
Incurred-but-not-reported (IBNR) reserve
Schedule rating
Investment income ratio
Unearned premium reserve
Judgment rating
Loading
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Outline
I. Property and Casualty Insurers
A. Balance Sheet
1. Assets
2. Liabilities
3. Policyholders Surplus
B. Income and Expense Statement
1. Revenues
2. Expenses
C. Measuring Profit of Loss
D. Recent Underwriting Results

II. Life Insurance Companies


A. Balance Sheet
1. Assets
2. Liabilities
3. Policyholders Surplus
B. Income and Expense Statement
1. Revenues
2. Expenses
C. Measuring Financial Performance
III. Rate Making in Property and Casualty Insurance
A. Objectives in Rate Making
1. Regulatory Objectives
2. Business Objectives
B. Basic Rate Making Definitions
C. Rate Making Methods
1. Judgment Rating
2. Class Rating
3. Merit Rating
IV. Rate Making in Life Insurance
V. The Financial Crisis and Insurers

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Short Answer Questions

1. What are the three major sections of a balance sheet, and what is the balance sheet equation?

2. How do an insurance companys assets differ from the assets of other business firms? What are the
two major liabilities of property and casualty insurance companies?

3. What are the two major sources of income for an insurance company?

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4. What is the combined ratio for a property and casualty insurance company, and what does the
combined ratio measure?

5. Two assets commonly listed on a life insurance companys balance sheet are contract loans and the
separate account. Explain what these two assets represent.

6. State insurance departments have regulatory objectives with respect to ratemaking. What are these
objectives? What are an insurance companys business objectives in ratemaking?

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7. The gross premium that an insurer charges consists of the pure premium and the loading. Explain
each of these components of the gross premium.

8. What are the three basic rating methods used in property and liability insurance?

9.

Explain the two methods of determining class rates.

10. What is the difference between experience rating and retrospective rating?

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Multiple Choice Questions

Circle the letter that corresponds to the BEST answer.


1. Under one type of property and casualty insurance ratemaking, exposures with similar characteristics
are placed in the same underwriting category, and each is charged the same rate. This type of rating is
called:
(a) class rating
(b) judgment rating
(c) retrospective rating
(d) merit rating
2. All of the following are assets that you might find on the balance sheet of a property and casualty
insurance company EXCEPT:
(a) corporate bonds
(b) common stock
(c) policy loans
(d) real estate securities
3. Which statement(s) is(are) true with regard to property and casualty insurance ratemaking?
I. Under the pure premium method, the pure premium is the rate charged insureds.
II. Judgment rates are determined largely by the underwriters judgment.
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

I only
II only
both I and II
neither I nor II

4. All of the following are methods of estimating the size of the reserve for reported property and
liability losses EXCEPT the:
(a) schedule rating method
(b) average value method
(c) loss ratio method
(d) tabular value method
5. The gross insurance premium consists of the pure premium plus the:
(a) net single premium
(b) policy reserve
(c) loading
(d) unearned premium
6. Under one form of merit rating, the insureds loss experience during the current policy period
determines the actual premium for that period. This type of merit rating is called:
(a) experience rating
(b) judgment rating
(c) schedule rating
(d) retrospective rating

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7. All of the following are rating methods used in property and casualty insurance EXCEPT:
(a) judgment rating
(b) class rating
(c) Bests rating
(d) merit rating
8. Which statement(s) is(are) true with regard to property and casualty insurance profitability?
I. The combined ratio compares an insurers losses and expenses to its premiums.
II. A combined ratio in excess of 1 (or 100 percent) indicates underwriting profitability.
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

I only
II only
both I and II
neither I nor II

9. States have rating laws that require insurance rates to meet certain standards. These standards include
all of the following EXCEPT:
(a) rates should not be unfairly discriminatory
(b) rates must provide large profits to insurers
(c) rates must be adequate
(d) rates must not be excessive
10. Which statement(s) is(are) true with regard to a life insurance companys balance sheet?
I. Assets are equal to liabilities plus policyholders surplus.
II. Policy reserves are a major liability of a life insurance company.
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

I only
II only
both I and II
neither I nor II

True/False

Circle the T if the statement is true, the F if the statement is false. Explain to yourself why a statement
is false.
T

1. Under experience rating, the insureds prior loss experience determines the actual premium
for this period.

2. A property and liability premium can be described as earned when it is paid to the insurance
company.

3. The two major sources of revenue for a property and casualty insurance company are
premiums and investment income.

4. Under class rating, exposures with similar characteristics are placed in the same underwriting
class and each is charged the same rate.

5. The rating system should be independent of loss control efforts.


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6. Case reserves are loss reserves established for each individual claim when the claim is
reported.

7. Policy reserves are considered an asset of the insurance company.

8. The balance sheet is prepared for a specified period, the income and expense statement is
prepared for a specific date.

9. Once insurers calculate rates for a given exposure, the rates are never adjusted.

F 10. The loss ratio is the ratio of incurred losses plus loss adjustment expenses to earned
premiums.

F 11. Under schedule rating, each exposure is rated individually with a basic rate that is adjusted for
desirable and undesirable physical features.

Calculations

1.

Secured Property Insurance Company estimates that 250,000 structures they insure will generate
incurred property losses and loss adjustment expenses of $50 million during the next year. If Secured
Propertys expense ratio is 25 percent, what is the gross premium for this property insurance?

2.

Jackson Casualty had incurred losses and loss adjustment expenses of $375,000 and earned premiums
of $500,000 for one line of coverage last year. The expected loss ratio was 70 percent. According to
the loss ratio method, by what percentage must Jackson Casualty increase the premium for this line of
coverage?

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Case Applications

Case 1
Based on the life insurance rate making discussion in this chapter and in the appendix to Chapter 18, Dan,
age 32, computed the net level premium for a 10-payment whole life insurance policy purchased by a man
age 32. Then he called a number of agents to get price quotes for 10-payment whole life insurance for a
32 year-old man. All of the agents quoted premiums that were higher than those Dan calculated. Dan
rechecked his calculations twice and is sure that he did not make any mistakes in his calculations. What is
the best explanation for the difference between the net level premiums Dan calculated and the premiums
quoted by the agents?

Case 2
Barbara Jorgenson is president of Jorgenson Chemical, a company that manufactures industrial chemicals,
including highly flammable acids. Her company has outgrown its present facility, and Barbara is
considering moving to a larger building. She has found two acceptable buildings. The first is a brick
building located in a run-down section of the city. The building was constructed in 1936 and all of the
internal fixtures have been removed. The building shares common walls with a vacant building and a
warehouse. The second building is located eight miles outside the city limit. It is a free-standing wood
frame building constructed two years ago. According to the building code, a sprinkler system was
mandatory. What are the positive and negative features of these buildings from a schedule rating
perspective?

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Solutions to Chapter 26

Short Answer Questions


1. The major sections of a balance sheet are the assets, the liabilities, and owners equity. Assets are
items of value that are owned by the business. Liabilities are obligations (debts) of the business.
Owners equity is the difference between the assets and liabilities of the business. The balance sheet
equation is:
Assets = Liabilities + Owners Equity
2. The assets of an insurance company are primarily financial assets. The assets for other types of
businesses often consist of plant, equipment, and inventory. Insurance companies use premiums and
retained earnings to invest in financial assets. Insurers use these invested assets to generate
investment income.
Property and liability insurers are required to maintain two principal types of reserves: the unearned
premium reserve and the loss reserve. The unearned premium reserve is a liability reserve that
represents the unearned portion of gross premiums on all outstanding policies at the time of valuation.
The fundamental purpose of the unearned premium reserve is to pay for losses that occur during the
policy period. The loss reserve is another important liability reserve for property and liability
insurers. A loss reserve is the estimated cost of settling claims that have occurred but that have not
been paid as of the valuation date.
3. The two major sources of income for an insurance company are premiums paid by policyowners and
income generated from investments. Property and casualty insurance companies will sometimes lose
money on their underwriting activities, but offset the loss with investment income, and still post a
profit for the accounting period.
4. The combined ratio is the sum of two ratios, the expense ratio and the loss ratio. The expense ratio is
the ratio of underwriting expenses to premiums written. The expense ratio is often in the 25 to
35 percent range. The loss ratio is the ratio of losses and loss adjustment expenses incurred to
premiums earned. The loss ratio is often in the 60 to 75 percent range. If an insurance companys
expense ratio was 30 percent and the loss ratio was 72 percent, the combined ratio would be
102 percent. This ratio means that for every dollar of premiums, the insurer paid-out a dollar and
two cents in expenses and claims. The combined ratio measures the profitability of underwriting
activities. A combined ratio less than 1 (or 100 percent) indicates underwriting profitability.
A combined ratio greater than 1 (or 100 percent) indicates an underwriting loss.
5. The savings reserve in a cash value life insurance can be borrowed by the policyowner. These loans
are similar to an account receivable, as policy loans must be repaid prior to the death of the insured or
the loan balance is subtracted from the death benefit paid to the beneficiary. Policyowners are
required to pay interest on policy loans as life insurers forego the investment income they could have
earned by investing the funds the policyowner borrowed.
Separate account assets are the assets backing interest-sensitive/investment-oriented products
marketed by life insurers. State insurance rules restrict the investments backing traditional life
insurance products. The separate account is a way of separating the assets backing these products
from the assets backing interest-sensitive, investment-oriented products.

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6. The regulatory objectives in ratemaking include: rate adequacy, making sure rates are not excessive,
and assuring that rates are not unfairly discriminatory.
The business objectives of ratemaking are: simplicity, responsiveness, stability, and encouragement
of loss control.
7. The pure premium is the portion of the gross premium that is needed to pay the expected losses and
the costs to adjust the losses. The loading is an allowance added to the pure premium to cover other
expenses, a profit for the insurer, and a margin for other contingencies (e.g., adverse investment
experience, higher than anticipated losses, etc.).
8. The three basic rating methods used in property and liability insurance are judgment rating, class
rating, and merit rating. Types of merit rating include schedule rating, experience rating, and
retrospective rating.
9. The two methods of determining class rates are the pure premium method and the loss ratio method.
The pure premium is determined by dividing the dollar amount of incurred losses and loss-adjustment
expenses by the number of exposure units. The pure premium is divided by one minus the expense
ratio to determine the gross rate.
Under the loss ratio method, the actual loss ratio is compared to the expected loss ratio, and the rate is
adjusted accordingly. This method determines the rate adjustment (increase or decrease) necessary.
10. Under an experience rating plan, the class or manual rate is adjusted upward or downward based on
past loss experience. Thus the experience from earlier periods is used to determine the current
premium. Under a retrospectively rated plan, the insureds loss experience during the current period
determines the actual premium paid for the period.

Multiple Choice Questions


1. (a) This type of rating is called class rating. Under class rating, the rate charged reflects the average
loss experience of the class as a whole.
2. (c) Some life insurance policies develop a savings reserve (the cash value) that can be borrowed by
policyowners. As property and casualty coverages do not develop a savings reserve, there are no
such loans in property and casualty insurance. The other choices are typical investments of a
property and casualty insurance company.
3. (b) Only the second statement is true. Insurers must add a loading to the pure premium to cover
expenses. Judgment rates are determined by the underwriters judgment.
4. (a) Schedule rating is a form of merit rating, not a method of estimating loss reserves.
5. (c) The gross premium is equal to the pure premium plus a loading. The loading covers expenses,
contingencies, and profit.
6. (d) Under retrospective rating, the premium for the current period is determined by the actual
experience during the current period.

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7. (c) Bests rating is a rating assigned to an insurance company based on the companys financial
strength. The A.M. Best Company assigns the rating. The other three choices are property and
casualty insurance rating methods.
8. (a) Only the first statement is true. The combined ratio is the sum of the expense ratio which
compares underwriting expenses and premiums written and the loss ratio which compares losses
and loss adjustment expenses to premiums earned. If the combined ratio is less than one
(or 100 percent), the insurer is profitable.
9. (b) Rating standards do not guarantee that insurers will earn large profits.
10. (c) Both statements are true. The first statement restates the balance sheet equation. Policy reserves
are a major liability of life insurers. Policy reserves represent an obligation of the insurer to pay
future policy benefits.

True/False
1. T
2. F When the premium is paid to the insurer, it is placed in the unearned premium reserve. With the
passage of time, these unearned premiums become earned premiums.
3. T
4. T
5. F The rating system should provide incentives for loss control. Experience rating, for example, bases
premiums upon past loss experience. If loss control is effective, loss levels are reduced, which in turn
reduces future premiums.
6. T
7. F Policy reserves are considered a liability because they represent an obligation of the insurer to pay
future benefits to policyowners.
8. F The balance sheet shows asset and liability values on a specific date. The income and expense
statement reflects income and expenses for a specified period, such as a quarter or a year.
9. F One business objective of a rating system is that the system should be responsive. There may be a
need to adjust rates because of interest rate changes, changes in loss experience, changes in legal
interpretations, etc.
10. T
11. T

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Calculations
1.

To calculate the gross premium, it is first necessary to calculate the pure premium. The pure premium
is equal to the incurred losses and loss-adjustment expenses per exposure unit. The pure premium is:

$50,000,000
= $200 per structure
250,000
The pure premium is then loaded for expenses, underwriting profit, and other contingencies. The
gross premium is:
Pure Premium
$200
=
= $266.67
1 Expense Ratio 1 0.25
2. As the actual loss ratio, 0.75 ($375,000/$500,000), exceeded the expected loss ratio (0.70), a rate
increase is needed. Under the loss ratio method, the rate change needed is the percentage by which
the actual loss ratio exceeded the expected loss ratio. The indicated rate change is:
Actual Loss Ratio Expected Loss Ratio 0.75 0.70
=
= 7.14%
Expected Loss Ratio
0.70

Case Applications
Case 1

Dan calculated the net level premium. The insurance agents were quoting the gross premiums charged by
their companies. The difference between the net premium and the gross premium is the loading added to
the net level premium. Three major types of expenses are reflected in the loading: production, distribution,
and maintenance expenses. The loading also reflects a margin for contingencies and a contribution to
company profits. If Dan were to load the premium he calculated, the premium would be closer to the
rates the agents quoted.
Case 2

Under schedule rating, each building is rated individually based on a number of factors. The pros and cons
of each building are discussed below:
Construction: The older brick structure is more fire resistant than a wood frame structure. A major
concern is loss caused by fire. Brick, other masonry, and metal construction are superior to wood frame
from a fire-damage rating perspective. The age of the brick structure (constructed in 1936) might also
be an issue.
Occupancy: The occupancy would be the same for either building: chemical (acid) manufacturing. As
noted, the occupancy would be less risky from a fire perspective in the brick structure.
Protection: The brick building in the city has no internal fire safety system. Given when it was
constructed, no sprinkler system may be present. On the positive side, however, the building is in an
urban area. Given this location, there may be a fire hydrant on the corner and a fire station located close
to the building. The wood frame building has a sprinkler system installed. On the negative side, there is
probably no source of water for a fire department to use given the rural location, and fire department
response time may be higher.

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Exposure: The brick structure faces additional risk from the adjacent buildings. A fire could start in the
warehouse next door and spread to the structure. The vacant building is also a concern. Given that these
structures are in a run-down part of the city, vagrants may use the vacant structure. The wood frame
building is free-standing, so it faces no risk of fire spreading from an adjacent structure; however it is
exposed to the elements on all four sides.
Maintenance: Neither building is occupied. Underwriters may consider Jorgensons past safety record
when rating the new structure for maintenance.

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