Services

Loss Reserving

Loss reserving is a process of estimating reasonable accruals for the unpaid loss and loss adjustment expenses that must be posted on a balance sheet. As this is often times the largest liability in a company’s financials, the accrual has a very significant impact on income and surplus (or net worth).

Pinnacle tailors our analysis of indicated reserves to your particular situation. Our loss reserve analyses are used to support statements of actuarial opinion (SAOs), audit opinions, financial examinations, insurance company liquidations and rehabilitations and as expert opinions in lawsuits. We rely on a wide variety of traditional actuarial methods to develop reasonable estimates of unpaid claims liabilities. The results of such a study can be stated as a point estimate, a reasonable range of outcomes or as a statistical distribution of all possible outcomes. There are many factors that influence the analysis of indicated reserves, including internal factors such as safety programs, loss control efforts or management changes.

There are external influences as well - regulatory/judicial climate, the economy or weather patterns. Our consultants spend considerable time and effort to understand the unique climate in which your company operates before customizing our analysis to include the real world influences likely to influence the true accrual for unpaid claims liabilities. We also have significant expertise with insurer liquidators and rehabilitators.

Our experience with property/casualty insurance programs is both broad and deep, with no two programs alike. From financial analysis of companies and their management to expert witness testimony regarding our findings and recommendations, you can rely on our support.

Publications and Media

July 6 2017 APEX Discussion Series
Causes of Recent Reserve Development
Authored by Erich A. Brandt and Gregory W. Fears, Jr..

May 2015 Apex Discussion Series
Actuarial 201—It's More Than Numbers
Authored by Derek W. Freihaut and Aaron N. Hillebrandt.

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Case Studies

Audit Support & Risk Transfer
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Audit Support & Risk Transfer

Pinnacle provides audit support for captive insurers to a major accounting/audit firm. The audit support typically includes a review of the actuarial report and supporting documents to determine if the actuarial report adheres to professional standards and provides a reasonable estimate of held reserves. As part of this support we interact with the actuaries who developed the report in order to answer any relevant questions. Another frequent element of audit support engagements is risk transfer analysis. Pinnacle has developed a state-of-the-art approach to risk transfer modeling; our publications and presentations at industry trade shows have been well received. Ultimately, Pinnacle produces a report with relevant comments and our conclusions that provide the necessary documentation for the auditing firm.

Company Valuation Model
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Company Valuation Model

An international financial services holding company wished to become the sole owner of a company in which they had a substantial minority interest. One of our consultants designed a stochastic valuation model projecting dividend streams several decades into the future. One of the more interesting features of this model is that it did not merely arrive at a point estimate of the value of the firm but applied various assumptions to calculate a range of values. The assumptions were discussed in advance with management and the model produced a probability distribution of the value of the firm. This allowed the client to determine the likely return for a given purchase price, improving the decision making process that led to the holding company obtaining full ownership of the subsidiary.

U S Domestic Statement of Actuarial Opinion
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U S Domestic Statement of Actuarial Opinion

Domestic U.S. property/casualty insurers and risk retention groups are required to file an Annual Statement with state regulators each year by March 1. Part of that filing includes the submission of a formal Statement of Actuarial Opinion (SAO) by a qualified Appointed Actuary as to the reasonableness of held loss and loss adjustment expense reserves. The SAO must be one of five types:

  • Reasonable
  • Inadequate/Deficient
  • Excessive/Redundant
  • Qualified
  • No Opinion

In addition to the SAO, most jurisdictions require an Actuarial Opinion Summary (AOS) providing more detail on the Appointed Actuary’s specific findings by March 15. Lastly, a formal report narrative in support of the SAO and AOS is required to be available by May 1.

As the SAO is a compliance document, the primary audience is state regulators but the individual company must arrange for the service to be provided.

A recent SAO for one of our clients touched on many of the required disclosures:

  1. The adequacy of held reserves on a net basis were below the low end of our range of reasonable reserves until we took into account anticipated salvage and subrogation recoveries.
  2. The unearned premium reserves for long duration contracts were substantial and we conducted a review to determine they were adequate
  3. The Company held material loss and loss adjustment expense reserves for pools and associations. In order avoid having to issue a Qualified Opinion, we separately computed indicated reserves for two of the pools/associations, and obtained an SAO from the Appointed Actuary for the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Pool.
  4. Reinsurance recoveries were in doubt for certain carriers as balance were sometimes overdue by more than 90 days. After reviewing the reinsurers’ A. M. Best ratings, we made the required disclosures about reinsurance collectability. 

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