Indexation Clause in Reinsurance Policies
A reinsurance contract between a ceding insurer as well as a reinsurer can last for a long period of time. A lot of the time, claims are not paid immediately. Instead, claims are paid over a long period of time. Such types of claims are called long-tailed claims. The problem here is that the reinsurance company pays a nominal amount in the form of a claim to the ceding insurer. However, due to rising inflation, the ceding insurer receives a lesser amount in real money terms.
Insurance and reinsurance companies in many parts of the world have realized that inflation can be problematic and unpredictable. It favors the ceding insurers sometimes while also preferring the reinsurers some other times. It is for this reason that they have tried to introduce the indexation clause in reinsurance policies.
The indexation clause is also known as the stability clause in some parts of the world since the purpose of this clause is to stabilize the payouts made by the reinsurer to the insurance company.
What is an Indexation Clause?
Every reinsurance policy has some monetary limits. For instance, reinsurance policies have a reinsurance limit. This is the maximum amount of claim that they can pay on a policy. It also has a retention limit i.e., this is the limit till which the ceding insurer is expected to bear the losses themselves. Once this limit has been breached, the ceding insurer can claim for reinsurance.
Now, the problem is that if a reinsurance contract continues for many years, then the limits on these policies do not change in nominal terms. However, their value keeps on reducing in real terms. In order to avoid this situation, both parties can choose to index these values.
Indexation means that both parties do not have to keep these values static. Instead, they can change these values dynamically based on the market condition. Both parties need to agree upon an external measure that they agree to be a barometer for inflation. In most cases, inflation numbers announced by the governments are used as an index.
Most reinsurance contracts around the world now have indexation clauses because of which these values end up changing automatically. It is important to note that the United States of America is probably the only developed insurance market in the world, where indexation clauses are not common. However, rising medical inflation is making the settlement of claims to become more expensive and prompting some insurers to include indexation clauses in their contracts.
Variations of The Indexation Clause
There are several variations of indexation clauses that are already available in the marketplace. The most common variations have been mentioned below:
The bottom line is that inflation can significantly change the real value of an insurance contract. As a result, it is desirable and even necessary to have an indexation clause in the contract which ensures that the real pay-outs remain fair to both parties depending upon the manner in which the contract was structured.
- Benefits of Reinsurance
- Key Differences Between Insurance and Reinsurance
- How Inflation Impacts Reinsurance
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