Dealing with Low Interest Rates in Life Insurance: An Analysis of Additional Reserves in the German Life Insurance Industry
Interest rates have been very low for several years, which is particularly challenging for life insurers. Since 2001, German life insurers have had to set an additional reserve due to low interest rates to ensure the protection of policyholders. However, the method introduced at that time to calculate these reserves was criticized, therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Finance replaced it with a new approach. In this article, we investigated the effects of the different methods on a typical German life insurer in various future interest rate scenarios and from various perspectives. For this purpose, we modelled such a life insurer holistically, considered its asset liability management and projected its future development in different interest rate scenarios using simulation techniques. Taking into account dependencies between assets, liabilities and interest rates, we analyzed and discussed our results from the life insurer’s, equity holders’, policyholders’ and regulators’ perspectives. The results show that the new method eliminated the weaknesses of the previous one and seems to be a suitable alternative to determine the additional reserve.