Insurances under Stress
Assets and Liabilities in the Wake of Interest Rates
In cooperation with Bankhaus Lampe, Zielke Research Consult has carried out a recent survey on the German and Austrian insurance market. Dr. Carsten Zielke reasons that, due to the low interest rate environment, German life insurance companies are obliged to raise additional core capital in the amount of € 30 bn in order to offer policyholders a continuingly appropriate return. This would almost imply a triplication of the existing equity capital and an alignment on the ratios of the banks.
This is necessary in order to invest adequately in tangible assets that generate a higher yield such as stocks, real estate and above all infrastructure.
Insurers are obliged to compete on their know-how to provide a significant added value for their customers. Furthermore, Dr. Carsten Zielke proposes to convert the “Zinszusatzreserve” into a sort of “Dauerreserve” and to add International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to HGB accounting, as it is done in Italy, in order to achieve a high level of transparency for the policyholder.
A reduction of guarantees (“Altgarantien”) for future deposits appears to be unavoidable. In the end, it would benefit the insurers and the customers because the solvency is strengthened. Traditional life insurance policies would still be a key component of personal pension plans.
The complete survey is reserved for professional investors. Bankhaus Lampe carries out the distribution. Those interested in a presentation of the survey are welcome to manifest their interest there. A report of the core points of the insurance survey is available on request.
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