What drives the cost of insurance?
Insurance plays a crucial role in mitigating financial risks and providing individuals and businesses with a safety net to protect against unexpected events.
There are numerous factors that contribute to determine the cost of insurance and in this article, we’ll investigate what makes up the cost of insurance policies, how rates are determined, and the key things that influence costs across different types of insurance.
Insurance actuaries determine insurance rates by analyzing a range of factors to estimate the likelihood of potential claims, and the associated costs of managing the policy.
The pure premium (also known as the “pure cost”) is the base amount of money an insurer needs to collect in cover expected claims, and includes the costs to administer those claims.
The factors used to determine pure premium include:
Actuaries will assess historical data related to the specific type of insurance being offered, examining factors such as past claim patterns, frequencies, and severities. This helps them establish a baseline understanding of the risks involved.
Actuaries also consider the state of the economy. They look at factors like inflation, interest rates, and how people’s incomes are changing. This matters because economic ups and downs can affect how many claims are lodged and how much they cost.
Using the insights gained from historical data analysis, actuaries project future claim frequencies and severities. They consider factors such as changes in demographics and regulatory influences that could impact claims.
Actuaries estimate the future costs of claims that have already been reported but not yet settled. This process, known as loss reserving, helps ensure that funds are set aside to cover these expected future payouts.
Statistics and modeling
Actuaries use statistics to predict what might occur in the future. They create models that simulate different scenarios, which in turn helps them estimate the chances of different events occurring and the potential associated costs.
For an overview of the different types of statistical models used in determining insurance costs, please refer to our article on actuaries and annual reserving.
Risk tolerance of the insurer
Different insurance companies have different levels of comfort with taking risks. Actuaries consider how much risk a company is willing to handle.
If an insurer is more willing to take risks, they might set lower prices. If they take a more conservative approach, actuaries will set higher prices to make sure they have enough funds to cover potential claims and expenses.
In addition to pure premium, insurance rates are also composed of various other components which includes insurer expenses such as administration and taxes, acquisition costs such as broker commission, and a margin for expected profit.
What drives the cost of individual insurance policies?
The cost of individual policies is driven by a combination of factors that influence the insurer’s assessment of risk and the level of coverage provided.
These factors can vary depending on the type of insurance (such as health, auto, or home insurance). However, in general, the following key elements play a significant role in determining the cost of individual insurance policies:
The core component of pricing insurance is risk.
Insurance companies assess the likelihood of an event occurring and the potential financial impact that it could have. The higher the risk associated with insuring a particular individual or asset, the higher the insurance premium is likely to be.
Insurance companies use statistics, historical trends and actuarial calculations to quantify these risks accurately.
The extent of coverage is a significant factor in determining insurance costs. More comprehensive coverage often comes with higher premiums.
For example, Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance provides coverage for a wide range of liability risks. The extent of coverage significantly influences the cost of CGL insurance premiums.
For property-related insurance, such as home insurance, the replacement value of the insured items plays a crucial role in determining the premium. The higher the replacement value, the more it would cost to replace or repair those items, and therefore the higher the premium.
Different types of insurance have their own specific factors that influence costs. Below we will list some of these factors, using commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance as an example.
The price of a CGL insurance policy is usually influenced by the following four factors.
1. Risk to your business
Insurers will carefully evaluate the risk exposure that a business faces. Certain industries inherently carry more risk than others.
For example, construction companies and manufacturers have higher risk profiles due to the physical nature of their work, while professional service providers like consultants or accountants generally face different risks that result in lower costing premiums.
2. Claims history
If a business has a history of frequent or high-value liability claims, insurance companies view it as a higher-risk entity.
On the other hand, a business with a clean claims history demonstrates a commitment to risk management and may qualify for lower premiums.
3. Annual income
Insurance companies often use the business’s revenue as a proxy for its size and exposure to liability risks.
A larger business with higher revenue might have more customers, employees, and assets to protect, leading to increased insurance premiums.
4. Location of business
Businesses operating in urban areas with higher population densities might face greater liability risks due to increased foot traffic and interactions with customers.
Businesses located in regions prone to natural disasters or high crime rates might also experience higher insurance costs.
Need help managing insurance costs?
Here at Axxima, we specialize in helping organizations find the right insurance coverage to protect themselves and their assets. We also have extensive experience working with clients helping them understand the complexities of insurance pricing across a broad range of coverage types and within complex insurance structures.
At Axxima, our experienced brokers are ready to assist organizations navigate the intricacies of insurance pricing. If you’re seeking an insurance quote that accurately reflects your circumstances, get in touch with us.