Market Consistent Embedded Values as 'Fair Value' Measurements for Life Insurance Accounting: A Step Too Far With Finance Theory?
53 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2007
Date Written: January 9, 2007
Embedded value has been widely adopted by European and Canadian life insurance companies for supplementary performance reporting and increasingly by US insurers for management purposes. It has important implications for the international debate over the appropriate use of fair values in financial reporting. But EV has still not been accepted by standard setters (e.g. IASB) for inclusion in the main financial statements. The concept of Market Consistent Embedded Value has been developed primarily by actuaries utilizing modern financial economics. This paper analyzes how both top-down and bottom-up methodologies for estimating MCEV may lead to unrealistic allowance for risk and explores the dangers of double counting of elements in the MCEV 'economic balance sheet', of a misunderstanding of the synergistic nature of overall firm value, and of a naïve belief in market efficiency. It outlines potential empirical research with wider implications for 'fair value' accounting and reporting.
Keywords: Fair Value, Life Insurance, Embedded Values, Market Efficiency, Risk
JEL Classification: G12, G22, M41, M44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation