The topics covered in SIGMA’s blog often originate from questions that our CEO, Tim Coomer, receives when traveling to speak with our clients. Multiple questions have emerged from some of his recent trips regarding frustrations with group captives, how to exit a group captive, and how to review various alternatives including guaranteed cost and large deductible programs, self-insurance, or a single-parent captive. In today’s blog post, we hope to briefly address these issues and provide some insight as to how a company should go about compiling an informed, credible exit strategy.
Companies that are contemplating leaving a group captive are faced with numerous considerations from an administrative point of view. Most of these center on contractual obligations to the captive and whether or not their contract specifies exit parameters. After exit, the company may receive future assessments from the group captive. These assessments are owed to the captive based on loss experience for years that will remain in the captive (especially if experience deteriorates). It is important to know that assessments can continue long after exit – especially for coverages that take years for all claims to settle.
For companies leaving a group captive, SIGMA would advise seeking independent legal professional guidance in contractual obligations and tax implications. In addition, several considerations must be made regarding risk quantification. Historical loss information related to the periods in the group captive should be monitored for two important reasons: 1) potential assessments may be related to the ultimate value or emergence of these periods and 2) the ultimate value and loss rates associated with these periods are vital to projecting losses in future periods. Loss development patterns prior to the exit should also be procured, if available, as they can be used to supplement post-exit loss development triangles.
Once all available information is obtained, ultimate losses for historical periods in the group captive can be estimated. During this process, it’s important to understand that ultimate losses may be volatile depending on the captive limit and coverage, especially for the more immature years closest to the exit date.
The estimates of historical ultimate losses can then help facilitate a loss projection for the upcoming period (which can be done per coverage, if multiple coverages are involved). To do so, ultimate losses are trended to current cost levels and examined in relation to similarly trended exposures in order to determine historical loss rates. These rates are reviewed to consider any trends or changes in demographics, and a loss rate is selected for the current (projected) period. Loss projections at various retentions paired with a confidence level analysis could be very useful in determining the best post-exit strategy.
Reviewing the results of the overall loss projection analysis while considering current market pricing for guaranteed cost coverage or various excess coverages can ultimately enable a Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) approach for deciding on an ongoing strategy. Again, multiple considerations must be made in the decision-making process. While moving to a guaranteed cost program eliminates risk-bearing volatility, it may be more expensive. On the other hand, self-insurance and large deductible programs may have regulatory or collateral requirements, and single-parent captives would have funding and capitalization concerns in addition to potential regulatory, tax, and collateral issues.
The same analytics used to project losses in future periods can also be utilized to establish reserves for historical periods based on the contractual obligations of that period and the funding mechanism related to the period. Combining the knowledge gained through analytics on both historical and future periods is crucial to the creation of an informed exit strategy. For more information, two prior blog entries on loss projections and confidence level analyses may be useful:
We welcome your feedback by posting a comment or contacting Michelle Bradley at mb@SIGMAactuary.com.
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