Other Financial Accountability Study

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    Developing Insurance Markets: Insurance Companies and Infrastructure Investments
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06) Shindo, Tetsutaro ; Stewart, Fiona
    Higher insurance penetration and smaller infrastructure investment gaps has been correlated even after accounting for gross domestic product (GDP) levels, which indicates the insurance industry may have made some contributions to this development. Insurers have been promoting infrastructure investments as both asset owners and asset managers because this asset class makes sense from an asset liability management (ALM) viewpoint and they can leverage their asset management function. The stable and long-term cash flows of infrastructure assets naturally align with liabilities of insurers, particularly life insurers. Creating an ecosystem around infrastructure finance and different types of market players is of high importance. In a developing country where banks are already dominant in infrastructure financing and a risk-based framework for the banking sector constrains them from providing long-tenor financing, the roll-over model can work. Finally, governments and national supervisors can support infrastructure investments in several ways, including establishing a clear definition for infrastructure and compiling data, lowering capital charges on infrastructure investments (if their different treatment is evidence-based), facilitating credit enhancement mechanism and the increase of investible infrastructure projects, etc. In some cases, more clarity may be required on capital charges between infrastructure and securitized assets. Restrictions on direct investments to infrastructure can also be lifted under appropriate risk-based supervision in place unless being harmful to the interests of policyholders.
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    Developing Insurance Markets: Do Fiscal Incentives Help Long Term Life Insurance Development?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Shindo, Tetsutaro ; Thorburn, Craig
    Life insurance lags non-life insurance in many nascent markets. In order to develop the life insurance market, insurance companies sometimes present the introduction of tax incentives to stimulate consumers’ willingness to commit to long term savings associated with life insurance. This paper examines whether insurance premiums’ tax deductibility can affect life insurance penetration using regression analysis of a cross-country dataset. To complement the analysis, selected individual countries - Niger, Russia, Paraguay, and Lithuania were reviewed, looking at trends in life insurance penetration and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in United States dollar (USD) before and after a policy change. The analysis did not conclusively demonstrate that life insurance premium fiscal relief was meaningfully correlated to life insurance penetration. On the other hand, GDP per capita is strongly correlated with life insurance penetration, which is consistent with findings of other studies. The country examples where a tax policy change was introduced in life insurance premium deductibility show mixed results. In Russia and Lithuania, premium deductions appear to have had some effect on life insurance penetration. In Niger and Paraguay, it was harder to see a meaningful impact. The impact of a premium deduction on consumers’ buying behavior appears to be more complex and depends on the country context such as institutional quality and overall financial market capacity. Even if the tax deduction of insurance premiums has some positive effect, it appears that it is not a panacea but just one of a number of factors motivating consumers. If a country is considering introducing a policy which allows the tax deduction of insurance premiums, it is recommended to combine it with other interventions.