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Catastrophe Insurance Risks: The Role of Risk-Linked Securities and Factors Affecting Their Use

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Because of population growth, resulting real estate development, and using real estate values in hazard-prone areas, the nation is increasingly exposed to much higher property-casualty losses--both insured and uninsured--from natural catastrophes than in the past. In the 1990s, a series of natural disasters, (1) raised questions about the adequacy of the insurance industry's financial capacity to cover large catastrophes without limiting coverage or substantially raising premiums and (2) called attention to ways of raising additional sources of capital to help cover catastrophic risk. Catastrophe risk includes exposure to losses from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, which are infrequent events that can cause substantial financial loss but are difficult to reliably predict. The characteristics of natural disasters prompt most insurers to limit the amount and type of catastrophic risk they hold. Risk-linked securities that can be used to cover risk from natural catastrophes employ many structures and include catastrophic bonds and catastrophic options. GAO identified and analyzed several issues that might affect the use of risk-linked securities. First, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and insurance industry representatives are considering revisions in the regulatory accounting treatment of risk transfer obtained from nonindemnity-based coverage that would allow credit to the insurer similar to that now afforded additional reinsurance. Such a revision has the potential to facilitate the use of risk-linked securities. Second, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is proposing a new U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles interpretation, which would increase independent capital investment requirements that allow the sponsor to treat special purpose reinsurance vehicles (SPRV) and similar entities as independent entities and report SPRV assets and liabilities separately. Third, "pass-through" tax treatment--which eliminates taxation at the SPRV level--with favorable implementing requirements could facilitate expanded use ...
Date: September 24, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Catastrophe Insurance Risks: The Role of Risk-Linked Securities

Description: Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Because of population growth, resulting real estate development, and rising real estate values in hazard-prone areas, our nation is increasingly exposed to higher property casualty losses--both insured and uninsured--from natural catastrophes than in the past. In the 1990s, a series of natural disasters, including Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake, raised questions about the adequacy of the insurance industry's financial capacity to cover large catastrophes without limiting coverage or raising premiums. Recognizing this greater exposure and responding to concerns about insurance market capacity, participants in the insurance industry and capital markets have developed new capital market instruments as an alternative to traditional property-casualty reinsurance, or insurance for insurers. GAO's objectives were to (1) describe catastrophe risk and how the insurance and capital markets provide coverage against such risks; (2) describe how risk-linked securities, particularly catastrophe bonds, are structured; and (3) analyze how key regulatory, accounting, tax, and investor issues might affect the use of risk-linked securities."
Date: October 8, 2002
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Catastrophe Insurance Risks: Status of Efforts to Securitize Natural Catastrophe and Terrorism Risk

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In addition to potentially costing hundreds or thousands of lives, a natural or terrorist catastrophe in the United States could place enormous financial demands on the insurance industry, businesses, and taxpayers. Given these financial demands, interest has been raised in bonds that are sold in the capital markets and thereby diversify catastrophe funding sources. GAO was asked to update a 2002 report on "catastrophe bonds" and assess (1) their progress in transferring natural catastrophe risks to the capital markets, (2) factors that may affect the issuance of catastrophe bonds by insurance companies, (3) factors that may affect investment in catastrophe bonds, and (4) the potential for and challenges associated with securitizing terrorism-related financial risks."
Date: September 24, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department