4 Methodology

4.1 MCEV Components for Covered Business

NET ASSET VALUE (NAV) — The net asset value is the market value of assets allocated to the covered business, which are not backing the liabilities from the covered business.

The net asset value is calculated as the statutory equity capital, adjusted by the unrealised gains or losses on assets covering the equity capital that are attributable to shareholders after taxes. Depending on local regulatory restrictions, equalisation reserves are also included in the net asset value. Intangible assets are not accounted for in the net asset value.

The net asset value is further split between the required capital (RC) and the free surplus (FS).

REQUIRED CAPITAL (RC) —The required capital is the market value of assets, attributed to the covered business – over and above that required to back liabilities for covered business – whose distribution to shareholders is restricted. Swiss Life bases the amount of required capital on 150% of the statutory solvency level according to Solvency I.

The amount of required capital disclosed is presented from a shareholders’ perspective and thus is net of funding sources other than shareholder resources (such as subordinated loans or policyholders’ share in unrealised gains).

FREE SURPLUS (FS) — The free surplus is the market value of any assets allocated to, but not required to support, the in-force covered business at the valuation date. The free surplus is calculated as the difference between the net asset value and the required capital.

The free surplus, unlike the required capital, is supposed to be immediately releasable and hence does not affect the frictional costs of required capital.

VALUE OF IN-FORCE BUSINESS (VIF) — The value of in-force business consists of the following components:

1. Certainty equivalent value (CEV)
2. Time value of financial options and guarantees (TVOG), including the cost of credit risk (see below)
3. Cost of residual non-hedgeable risks (CNHR)
4. Frictional costs of required capital (FC)

In the MCEV Principles, the term present value of future profits (PVFP) is used instead of certainty equivalent value.

Certainty equivalent value and time value of financial options and guarantees are items that involve balance sheet projections consisting of local statutory liabilities and assets in line with:

Local legal obligations
Company practice due to commercial and competitive constraints
Local market practice in the calculation of embedded values

CERTAINTY EQUIVALENT VALUE (CEV) — The certainty equivalent value is defined as the present value of the future shareholders’ statutory profits (net of tax) under the certainty equivalent scenario.

In this scenario, future market returns are determined as the forward rates implied in the reference rates at the valuation date. Discounting is done at the same reference rates. Consequently, the certainty equivalent value includes the intrinsic value of financial options and guarantees, but not the corresponding time value.

The rules for management and policyholders’ actions applied in the certainty equivalent scenario are the same as those used for the stochastic projection used to determine the time value of financial options and guarantees.

TIME VALUE OF FINANCIAL OPTIONS AND GUARANTEES (TVOG) — The certainty equivalent value does not allow for the risk that the financial outcome for shareholders could differ from the one implied by the certainty equivalent scenario. This is of particular relevance when products or funds include guarantees or options for the policyholder such as:

Guaranteed interest rates
Profit sharing and “legal quotes”
Maturity guarantees
Guaranteed minimum death benefits
Guaranteed annuity options
Surrender options

For such products or funds, a stochastic projection has been run allowing for the range of possible scenarios for financial markets. The TVOG is calculated as the difference between the average present value of shareholder cash flows (profits or losses) and the certainty equivalent value, plus the cost for credit risk (see remarks on credit risk below). The TVOG therefore represents the additional market price of those financial options and guarantees in excess of the intrinsic value which are already allowed for in the certainty equivalent value.

At the end of the projection, shareholders are assumed to meet any shortfall of assets against liabilities or to receive a part of any residual assets. The same applies to the certainty equivalent value.

The cost of credit risk accounts for the credit risk of investments in bonds that would have otherwise been unaccounted for in other MCEV components. It is defined as the present value of charges on the projected economic capital for credit risk.

The initial economic capital for credit risk is defined as the impact on the present value of future profits corresponding to the 99% expected shortfall of the credit loss from the actual bond portfolio over 1 year, due to the migration and default risk. The underlying credit risk calculations are performed using an internal model based on the CreditMetrics2 methodology.

Dependencies between credit risk and other financial risks have been modelled and lead to an increase in the capital for credit risk. No diversification with insurance risks (including surrender and expenses) has been allowed for.

The economic capital for cost of credit risk has been projected proportionally to the statutory solvency margin in the same way as for the CNHR (see below). The same charge for annual cost of capital has been applied to the resulting projected capital at risk.

COST OF RESIDUAL NON-HEDGEABLE RISKS (CNHR) — The cost of residual non-hedgeable risks for risk factors such as mortality, morbidity, expenses and lapse rates is calculated under a cost of capital approach. It is defined as the present value of annual charges on the projected economic capital for residual non-hedgeable risk.

The initial capital for the CNHR has been calculated using the standard approach within the Swiss Solvency Test applied to Swiss Life’s MCEV framework. Therefore the corresponding economic capital is calculated by aggregating the stand-alone economic capital that corresponds to the following non-hedgeable risk factors:

Mortality
Longevity
Disability/morbidity
Recovery rates
Capital options
Lapses
Expenses

The economic capital for CNHR has then been projected proportionally to the statutory Solvency I margin.

A capital charge of 4% per annum has been applied to the resulting projected capital at risk. It represents the excess return or risk premium that a shareholder might expect on capital exposed to non-hedgeable risks.

In order to be consistent with the CFO Forum Principles, no diversification between hedgeable and non-hedgeable risks has been taken into account. Furthermore no diversification effects between market units have been accounted for.

FRICTIONAL COSTs OF REQUIRED CAPITAL (FC) — The frictional costs of required capital for the covered business are defined as the present value of the costs incurred by shareholders due to investment via the structure of an insurance company (compared to direct investment as individuals), such as tax on profits generated by the insurance company or the costs of asset management. Other potential frictional costs such as agency costs or financial distress costs have not been taken into account in the frictional costs of required capital.

4.2 New Business

New business is defined as covered business arising from the sale of new contracts and from new covers to existing contracts during the reporting year, including cash flows arising from the projected renewal of those new contracts. Higher premiums in Swiss group life contracts from wage increases are not considered new business. The value of new business (VNB) reflects the additional value to shareholders created through the activity of writing new business during the reporting period.

The value of new business of a period represents the effect on the MCEV at the end of the period from writing new business, i.e., it is the difference between the actual closing MCEV and the closing MCEV which would result if no new business had been written during the period. This is known as the “marginal” approach to value of new business. It applies to every MCEV component: certainty equivalent value, TVOG, CNHR and FC. Legal constraints – e.g. “legal quotes” – or management rules often apply to books of contracts as a whole instead of individual contracts. That is why the value of new business can be dependent on the business in force before the writing of new business.

A “stand-alone” valuation for value of new business has been performed when the business in force is not affected by writing new business (for example for unit-linked contracts). In this case, the value of new business has been valued independently of the business in force.

The value of new business is calculated with economic scenarios and assumptions at end of period.

4.3 Asset and Liability Data

All assets and liabilities reflect the actual positions as of the valuation date.

assets — The asset model used for the calculation of the MCEV differentiates three main asset classes:

Cash and fixed income instruments
Equity-type investments (including real estate)
Derivatives

All bonds and bond-like securities (such as mortgages) are modelled as fixed or floating government bonds. For all bonds, coupons and nominals have been recalibrated so that the valuation of the bonds using the reference yields converges to the observed market value.

Equities, real estate, participations and alternative investments (hedge funds and private equities) are modelled separately using appropriate indices according to the corresponding volatilities and the corresponding geographical regions (Switzerland, Europe and USA).

Actual initial market values of assets have been taken where available (“marked-to-market”), or estimated where there is no market (“marked to model”), for example by discounting unquoted loan and mortgage asset proceeds. Local regulatory and accounting frameworks (such as the amortisation of bonds or lower of cost or market principle) are incorporated in the model.

When a substantial part of the assets is held in foreign currencies, these foreign assets are modelled explicitly (including the foreign currency exchange risk).

insurance liabilities — Liabilities are calculated in line with local statutory requirements using individual policy data. For projection purposes, policies of the same product with similar risk profiles are grouped together to form model points.

HYBRID DEBT — The going-concern assumption stipulates that for MCEV the hybrid debt allocated to the covered business is valued assuming that the coupons and nominal are paid with certainty. The hybrid debt is valued in a market consistent way by discounting the corresponding liability cash flows with the reference rates without any credit spreads. This leads to a difference to the fair value reported in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

4.4 Economic Scenario Generator

The MCEV is calculated using a risk-neutral valuation, based on market consistent and arbitrage-free stochastic economic scenarios. Under this approach, the key economic assumptions are:

The reference swap rates
Interest rate and equity-type volatilities
Correlations between the economic risk factors
– Inflation rates

The stochastic economic scenarios are generated by the Economic Scenario Generator. This software was developed and provided by Barrie & Hibbert, a UK based financial consulting company.

Since the assets and liabilities within the Swiss Life Group are mostly denominated in Swiss francs, euros or US dollars, the economic scenarios model these three economies in a market consistent way. The exchange rates and dividend yields are modelled as additional risk factors, as well as the inflation rates in each economy.

For the calculation of the MCEV and the value of the new business as at valuation date, 2000 economic scenarios (also referred to as simulations) are used, ensuring a satisfying convergence of the models for all market units. For the calculation of the sensitivities and some steps in the movement analysis, some market units use fewer scenarios in connection with variance reduction techniques.

4.5 Dynamic Management Actions and Policyholder Behaviour

Dynamic management actions and policyholder behaviour mainly concern the following areas: profit sharing for participating life businesses, asset allocation and realisation of gains and losses, and assumed policyholder behaviour with regards to their contractual options. They are dependent on the time period, economic scenario considered, local regulations and type of business.

The crediting rules for policyholders are consistent with current company practices and local regulatory environments, in particular regarding the existence of a “legal quote”. They ensure that the statutory solvency rules (Solvency I, including stress tests if legally required in the country), other legal requirements and target solvency margins are fulfilled for each projection year.

The rules for future asset allocations are consistent with going-concern assumptions. Asset realignment avoids deviating from the strategic asset allocation by more than a predefined margin and takes place after each projected year.

Lapse rates from policyholders have been dynamically modelled, depending on the difference between the credited rate to the policyholders and the policyholders’ expectations, which are based on benchmark market interest rates. Lapse parameters depend on the country and product line considered.

4.6 Look-Through Principle

MCEV guidance requires that profits or losses incurred in service companies from managing covered business are measured on a “look-through” basis. This principle ensures that all profits and losses incurred with regard to the covered business are passed to the corresponding entity, and consequently passed to the present value of future profits.

Look-through adjustments are applied on the asset management services and corporate centre costs. The future profits or losses taken into account for this adjustment are those linked to the insurance business, after “legal quote” and taxes.

4.7 Consolidation

The Group MCEV for Swiss Life comprises MCEV results for covered business and IFRS net asset values for non-covered business. Covered business comprises all relevant life insurance entities; non-covered business all other entities within the Swiss Life Group.

Covered business relates to the insurance operations in:

Switzerland
Germany
France: consolidated, including life and health business
Luxembourg
Liechtenstein

The sum of all market consistent embedded values for the market units of the covered business forms the total MCEV for covered business.

Non-covered business comprises all other entities of the Swiss Life Group that are valued as the unadjusted IFRS net asset value on a consolidated level, such as the distribution unit AWD or investment management, financing and holding companies. Non-covered business is added to the MCEV results from the covered business to form the Group MCEV.

For future MCEV publications, other units – such as Swiss Life Products (Luxembourg) S.A. and Swiss Life Insurance Solutions AG – will be included under covered business as soon as their MCEV is significant.

4.8 Employee Pension Schemes and Share-Based Payment Programmes

Allowance is made for gains or losses arising from the defined benefit pension plans for Swiss Life’s own employees. The effects are modelled as respective expenses in the projections. In Switzerland there is no need for separate projection of expenses as the pension scheme for own employees is included in the portfolio as an insurance contract. In other units the major part of the effect is covered by external insurance contracts. The rest is based on best estimates.

The costs of share-based payment programmes for employees are not included in the MCEV, other than to the extent that they are allowed for in the local statutory accounts upon which the shareholder net assets are based. Further information on the costs of share-based payment programmes is given in the Group’s IFRS financial statements.