Best’s Commentary: Change in UK Ogden Discount Rate Falls Short of Industry Expectations

LONDON--()--The revision of the Ogden Discount Rate will lead to reserve strengthening for companies that had booked motor and liability reserves in the zero to 1% range, according to a new commentary by AM Best, although the impact on capital of U.K. insurers is not expected to be significant. Some insurers will experience a one-off hit to earnings as prior-year reserves are strengthened; however, they should be able to price the change into new business.

The Best’s Commentary, titled “Change in UK Ogden Discount Rate Falls Short of Industry Expectations,” examines the impact of the U.K. government’s first review of the Discount Rate under the Civil Liability Act (passed 20 December 2018), which was announced on 15 July 2019, with the rate being revised from negative 0.75% to negative 0.25%. The Discount Rate is used to calculate the value of the lump sum awarded to a personal injury claimant in order for it to be equivalent to a fixed annual income over a set period.

Will Keen-Tomlinson, financial analyst, said: “Reserving practices vary across the industry. AM Best understands that while some companies are currently reserved conservatively, based on a Discount Rate of negative 0.75%, others have been taking a more speculative approach and have been reserving assuming a rate of zero to one percent. Consequently, the announcement may lead to reserve releases or reserve strengthening depending on each individual company’s current assumptions.”

Timothy Prince, director, analytics, added: “Overall, insurers will be disappointed that the change did not meet industry expectations and policyholders are unlikely to see meaningful motor or liability premium reductions in the near future. The alteration is likely to have a minor one-off earnings impact on some companies through strengthening or release of reserves. However, AM Best does not expect it to have a material impact on the capitalisation or credit ratings of U.K. insurers.”

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=287780.

AM Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry. Visit www.ambest.com for more information.

Copyright © 2019 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Contacts

William Keen-Tomlinson
Financial Analyst

+44 20 7397 4395
will.keen-tomlinson@ambest.com

Yvette Essen
Director, Research, Communications
& Media – Europe, Middle East & Africa
+44 20 7397 0322
yvette.essen@ambest.com

Timothy Prince
Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0320
timothy.prince@ambest.com

Edem Kuenyehia
Director, Market Development &
Communications
+44 20 7397 0280
edem.kuenyehia@ambest.com

Contacts

William Keen-Tomlinson
Financial Analyst

+44 20 7397 4395
will.keen-tomlinson@ambest.com

Yvette Essen
Director, Research, Communications
& Media – Europe, Middle East & Africa
+44 20 7397 0322
yvette.essen@ambest.com

Timothy Prince
Director, Analytics
+44 20 7397 0320
timothy.prince@ambest.com

Edem Kuenyehia
Director, Market Development &
Communications
+44 20 7397 0280
edem.kuenyehia@ambest.com