Solvency II’s volatility adjustment in volatile times

  • Duco van den As Duco van den As

The purpose of this report is to measure the performance of Solvency II’s adjustments to the interest rate term structure. More specifically we analyze the effectiveness of the Volatility Adjustment in reducing balance sheet volatility caused by Solvency II’s risk-based approach. This is achieved with a prospective analysis where we simulate an arbitrary balance sheet 1 year into the future using a calibrated one-factor Hull-White model; and subsequently an analysis of hedging portfolios in retrospect where we use solvency ratios to measure the performance of the Volatility Adjustment over the past 8 years. The simulations show that regardless of the correlation structure or duration match the insurer’s own funds is destabilized when the Credit Risk Adjustment or Volatility Adjustment is applied to the interest rate term structure. The impact of the VA is however much lower when an insurer has lower asset duration than liability duration, making the VA more interesting for these insurers. Furthermore we find that standard duration matching is not adequate in the Hull-White model and therefore we use a more sophisticated duration matching technique. It turns out that the choice of fitted swaption maturities in the calibration procedure is highly important for the simulation results. The analysis of hedging portfolios in retrospect shows that solvency ratios increase dramatically if the Volatility Adjustment is used in volatile times. This is caused by both lower Solvency Capital Requirements as well as relative high own funds. The most stable solvency ratios are obtained with hedging portfolios similar to the VA reference portfolio.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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