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FOPI News no. 19

FOPI News no. 19 of 3 November 2008 ─ Statement of Accounts for 2007 in Occupational Pension Plans: Profit Distribution by Life Insurers Lies above the Statutory Minimum Quota

For the third time since the introduction of the practice in 2004, private Swiss life insurers have submitted a complete statement of accounts for 2007 for occupational pension plans. Of total earnings derived from savings, risk and cost processes for the financial year 2007, 91.60% was accrued to insured parties in the form of insurance benefits, increases in technical reserves, and profit participation. As in the previous year, distribution of the surplus lay above the prescribed statutory minimum quota of 90%.

As at 31 December 2007, twelve private life insurers (compared with 13 in the previous year) managed collective insurance plans under occupational pension schemes for a total of 2.10 million policyholders (compared with 2.13 million the previous year).

The distribution quota lies 1.60 percentage points above the required minimum quota
Of total earnings derived from savings, risk and cost processes for the financial year 2007, 91.60% was accrued to insured parties in the form of benefits, enhanced and reinforced technical reserves, as well as in the form of profit participation (this compares with 91.65% the previous year).

The share allotted to the twelve insurance companies after distribution to policyholders, reached CHF 693 million in FY 2007 (compared with CHF 696 million the previous year). This sum represents 0.57% of pension monies amounting in total to CHF 120 billion reinsured by these insurance companies. This 0.57% is used to build up the legally mandated solvency capital and for the provision of interest payments. It represents the risk premium for the assumed liability to be met by the capital resources of the company as a whole.

Improved results thanks to lower claims levels
2007 showed operating profits to the tune of CHF 1950 million ─ this represents CHF 395 million over the previous year. Under stable rates of return on investment (3.22% for 2007 and 3.32% for 2006), the substantially improved results can be foremost attributed to reduced pressure during the reporting year from claims arising from disability cases.

Thus in 2007, CHF 1 257 million could be allotted to surplus funds for the benefit of policyholders ─ this compares with CHF 869 million in the previous year. The surplus funds make it possible to deliver a constant share of the surplus to policyholders, evened out to the extent possible over time. In 2007, policyholders were allocated CHF 725 million from the surplus funds; this compares with CHF 508 million allocated the previous year. Surplus participation is not a guaranteed benefit, but is delivered in addition to, over and above the statutory requirements (the minimum rate of return prescribed by the Swiss Federal Act on Occupational Retirement and Survivors' and Disability Pensions and the minimum annuity conversion rate applying to pensions).

Reduced per capita costs
For the first time since the introduction in 2004 of the practice of preparing operating accounts, per capita costs sunk in 2007 to the level of 476 Swiss francs per head (compared with CHF 505 per head for the previous year). This is mainly due to an actual reduction in costs carried by insurance companies in comparison with the previous year, with the number of policyholders remaining more or less stable. In 2007, two out of the twelve life insurers showed positive results in the cost process (this compares with one out of13 for the previous year), whilst the remainder showed negative results - this lead overall to negative results in the cost process for life insurers as a whole.

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