Category: TPG2022 Chapter X: Transfer Pricing Aspects of Financial Transactions

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.226

In considering how the conditions of the transaction between A and B differ from those which would be made between independent enterprises, it is important to consider how the high level of profitability of the insurance policies is achieved and the contributions of each of the parties to that value creation. The product sold to the third party is an insurance policy substantially the same as that which any other insurer in the general market could provide. The sales agent has the advantage of offering the insurance policy to its customer alongside the sale of the goods to be insured. It is the advantage of intervening at the point of this sale which provides the opportunity to earn a high level of profit. A could sell policies underwritten by another insurer and retain most of the profit for itself. B could not find another agent ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.225

For example Company A is a high street retailer of high value new technology consumer goods. At the point of sale, A offers insurance policies to third party customers which provide accidental damage and theft cover for a 3-year period. The policies are insured by Company B, an insurer which is part of the same MNE group as A. A receives a commission with substantially all of the profit on the insurance contract going to B. A full factual and functional analysis shows that the insurance contracts are very profitable and that there is an active market for insurance and reinsurance of the type of risks covered by the policies. Benchmarking studies show that the commission paid to A is in line with independent agents selling similar cover as a standalone product. The profit B earns is above the level of insurers providing similar cover ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.224

Where an insurance contract is not sold directly from insurer to insured, recompense will usually be due to the party who arranges the original sale. In certain circumstances a higher rate of profit might be earned on the third party sale than would otherwise be expected from comparison with similar transactions. Where the sales agent and insurer or reinsurer are associated, any comparability analysis as part of the process of determining the arm’s length level of reward for the parties would need to consider the circumstances that give rise to the high level of profit. Competition would usually work to limit the amount of profit which can be earned on a transaction both on the part of the sales agent and on that of the insurer or reinsurer. The availability of alternative providers may also influence the ability of each party to negotiate a higher ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.223

For example, a manufacturing MNE group has 50 subsidiaries in different locations around the world, all in locations with substantial risk of earthquake, each insures against earthquake damage at its manufacturing plant, with each plant in a different location, assessed on its individual level of risk. The MNE group sets up a captive insurance which accepts the risk from all of the subsidiaries and reinsures it with independent reinsurers. By bringing together a portfolio of insurance risks across different geographical zones, the MNE group already represents a diversified risk to the market. The synergy benefit arises from the collective purchasing arrangement, not from value added by the captive insurance. It should be allocated amongst the insured according to the level of premium they contributed ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.222

Where a captive insurance is used so that the MNE group can access the reinsurance market to divest itself of risk through insuring risk outside the MNE group, whilst making cost savings over using a third party intermediary, by pooling risks within the MNE group, the captive arrangement harnesses the benefits of collective negotiation on any reinsured risks and more efficient allocation of capital in respect of any risks retained. These benefits arise as a result of the concerted actions of the MNE policyholders and the captive insurance. The insured participants jointly contribute with the expectation that each of them will benefit through reduced premiums. This is similar to the type of group-wide arrangements that might exist for other group functions such as purchasing of goods or services. Where the captive insurance insures the risk and reinsures it in the open market, it should receive ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.221

It is important to recognise that the capital adequacy requirements of a captive insurance are likely to be significantly lower than an insurer writing policies for unrelated parties. This factor should be considered and, if necessary, adjusted for in order to determine the appropriate level of capital to use when calculating the investment return. Differences in capital adequacy between captive insurance and arm’s length insurers typically arise because of regulatory and commercial factors. Insurance regulators frequently set lower regulatory capital requirements for captive insurances. A primary commercial driver for arm’s length insurers is capital efficiency. In order to attract investors and customers, arm’s length insurers will target a strong credit rating by holding a level of operating capital which is in excess of the regulatory minimum. At the same time, arm’s length insurers will attempt to maximise their return on capital results. They will try ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.220

The remuneration of the captive insurance can be arrived at by considering the arm’s length profitability of the captive insurance by reference to a two staged approach which takes into account both profitability of claims and return on capital. The first step would be to identify the captive insurance’s combined ratio. This can be determined by expressing claims and expenses payable as a percentage of premiums receivable. The benchmarked combined ratio achieved by unrelated insurance companies indemnifying similar insurance risks can be identified. The benchmarked combined ratio can then be applied to the tested party’s claims and expenses paid to arrive at an arm’s length measure of annual premiums and thus underwriting profit (premiums receivable less claims and expenses). The second step is to assess the investment return achieved by the captive insurance against an arm’s length return. This step requires two further considerations: (a) ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.219

Alternatively, actuarial analysis may be an appropriate method to independently determine the premium likely to be required at arm’s length for insurance of a particular risk. In setting prices for an insurance premium, an insurer will seek to cover its expected losses on claims, its costs associated with writing and administering policies and dealing with claims, plus a profit to provide a return on capital, taking into account any investment income it expects to receive on the excess of premiums received less claims and expenses paid. The practical application of actuarial analysis may be a complex exercise. In evaluating the reliability of actuarial analysis to determine the arm’s length price of premiums it is important to note that actuarial analyses do not represent actual transactions between independent parties and that, therefore, comparability adjustments would be likely required ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.218

The application of the CUP method to a transaction involving a captive insurance may encounter practical difficulties to determine the need for and quantification of comparability adjustments. In particular, account should be taken of potential differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions that may affect the reliability of the comparables. Those differences may refer, for instance, to situations where the functional analysis indicates that a captive insurance performs less functions than a commercial insurer (e.g. a captive insurance that only insures internal risks within the MNE group may not need to perform distribution and sales functions). Similarly, differences between the captive insurance and the potential comparables in business volume or in the level of capital between the captive insurance and unrelated parties may require comparability adjustments (see paragraph 10.221) ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.217

Comparable uncontrolled prices may be available from comparable arrangements between unrelated parties. These may be internal comparables if the captive insurance has suitably similar business with unrelated customers, or there may be external comparables ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.216

The following paragraphs outline different approaches to pricing intra-group transactions involving captive insurance and reinsurance. Each case must be considered on its own facts and circumstances and in each case accurate delineation of the actual transactions in accordance with the principles of Chapter I will be needed before any attempt to decide on an approach to pricing a transaction. As in any other transfer pricing situation, the most appropriate method should be selected under the guidance of Chapter II ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.215

In accurately delineating fronting arrangements, the same principles stated for captive insurance apply. It is important to note, however, that fronting arrangements represent particularly complex controlled transactions to price as they involve the participation of a third party that is indifferent to the levels of the price of the insurance and reinsurance transactions. The key issues which are likely to arise in fronting cases are whether the transactions involved amount to genuine insurance or reinsurance and, if there is genuine insurance, whether the premiums payable (ultimately to the reinsurance captive) are on arm’s length terms ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.214

A reinsurance captive is a particular type of captive insurance which does not issue policies directly but operates as a reinsurance under an arrangement known as “fronting”. Captive insurance may not be able to underwrite insurance policies in the same way as traditional insurance companies. For instance, certain insurance risks must be placed with regulated insurers as a legal requirement. This may lead to the use of a fronting arrangement in which the first contract of insurance is between the insured member of an MNE group and an unrelated insurer (the fronter); the fronter then reinsures with the captive insurance most or all of the risk of the first contract. The fronter may remain responsible for claims handling and other administrative functions or these functions may be handled by a member of the same MNE group as the captive. The fronter retains a commission to ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.213

In many cases, outsourcing certain aspects of the underwriting function would be inconsistent with the minimum regulatory standards required to operate an insurance business. However, in those situations where the captive insurance is permitted to outsource some of the activities that constitute the underwriting function (for instance, a captive insurance may be allowed to outsource the acceptance of insurance risk to an associated enterprise that acts as a broker and receives an arm’s length remuneration), special consideration of the retention by the captive insurance of the control functions would be required in order to conclude whether the risk is allocated to the captive insurance. A captive insurance that outsources all aspects of the underwriting process without performing control functions would not assume the insurance risk under Chapter I analysis ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.212

When the captive insurance does not have access to the appropriate skills, expertise and resources and, therefore, the captive insurance is not found to exercise control functions related to the risks associated to the underwriting, an analysis under Chapter I, based on facts and circumstances, may conclude that the risk has not been assumed by the captive insurance or that another MNE is exercising these control functions. In this latter case, the return derived from the investment of the premiums would be allocated to the member(s) of the MNE group that are assuming the risk associated with the underwriting in accordance with the guidance in Chapter I ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.211

Part IV of the Report on the Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments describes the activities that form part of the underwriting function such as setting the underwriting policies, classifying and selecting the insured risk, setting the premiums (pricing), the analysis of risk retention and the acceptance of the insured risk. These activities would imply, inter alia, deciding to underwrite a risk or not and under what terms and conditions, or whether reinsurance protection should be purchased or not. On prevailing facts and circumstances, those activities may be considered as control functions as described in paragraph 1.65 of Chapter I and, if exercised by a captive insurance that possesses the financial capacity to assume the risk, would lead to the allocation of risk to the captive insurance under Chapter I analysis. Notably, the mere setting of parameters or the policy environment for the risk would ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.210

The accurate delineation of the actual transaction in scenarios involving captive insurance requires identifying whether the captive insurance is performing control functions regarding the economically significant risks associated to the underwriting function – in particular the insurance risk – to determine whether those risks should be allocated to the captive ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.209

In the process of accurately delineating the actual transaction involving a captive insurance, the economically relevant risks associated with issuing insurance policies, i.e. underwriting, must be identified with specificity. Part IV of the Report on the Attribution of Profits to Permanent Establishments provides a description of those risks that include, inter alia, insurance risk, commercial risk or investment risk. These descriptions remain valid for the purpose of this guidance ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.208

In situations where the captive insurance lacks the scale to achieve significant risk diversification or lacks sufficient reserves to meet additional risks represented by the relatively less diversified portfolio of the MNE group, the accurate delineation of the actual transaction may indicate that the captive insurance is operating a business other than an insurance one (see guidance in Chapter VII) ... Continue to full case

TPG2022 Chapter X paragraph 10.207

Notably, internal risk diversification might generate lower capital efficiencies than those achieved through external risk diversification. Therefore, the remuneration of a captive insurance that exclusively covers internal risks might be lower than when risk diversification is achieved by insuring external, non-group risks, or by reinsuring a significant proportion of the MNE group’s risks outside of the group. In addition, when the accurate delineation of the actual transaction indicates that the capital efficiencies achieved through the pooling of internal risks in the captive insurance arise from the result of group synergies created through deliberate concerted group actions, the benefits of such synergies should generally be shared by the MNEs that contributed to the creation of those synergies (see Section D.8 of Chapter I and paragraphs 10.222 and 10.223) ... Continue to full case