Insurance in The United States - Definition - "Safe Harbor" Exemptions

"Safe Harbor" Exemptions

The analysis of reasonableness and significance is an estimate of the probability of different gain or loss outcomes under different loss scenarios. It takes time and resources to perform the analysis, which constitutes a burden without value where risk transfer is reasonably self-evident.

Guidance exists for insurers and reinsurers, whose CEO's and CFO's attest annually as to the reinsurance agreements their firms undertake. The American Academy of Actuaries, for instance, identifies three categories of contract as outside the requirement of attestation:

  • Inactive contracts. If there are no premiums due nor losses payable, and the insurer is not taking any credit for the reinsurance, determining risk transfer is irrelevant.
  • Pre-1994 contracts. The attestation requirement only applies to contracts that were entered into, renewed or amended on or after 1 January 1994. Prior contracts need not be analyzed.
  • Where risk transfer is "reasonably self-evident."
Risk transfer is reasonably self-evident in most traditional per-risk or per-occurrence excess of loss reinsurance contracts. For these contracts, a predetermined amount of premium is paid and the reinsurer assumes nearly all or all of the potential variability in the underlying losses, and it is evident from reading the basic terms of the contract that the reinsurer can incur a significant loss. In many cases, there is no aggregate limit on the reinsurer's loss. The existence of certain experience-based contract terms, such as experience accounts, profit commissions, and additional premiums, generally reduce the amount of risk transfer and make it less likely that risk transfer is reasonably self-evident.

—American Academy of Actuaries

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