(2) Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the basis of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”). Preparing financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts and related disclosures. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation.
For traditional long-duration insurance contracts, we report premiums as earned when due. For short-duration insurance contracts, we report premiums as revenue over the terms of the related insurance policies on a pro-rata basis or in proportion to expected claims.
For single premium mortgage insurance contracts, we report premiums over the estimated policy life in accordance with the expected pattern of risk emergence as further described in our accounting policy for unearned premiums. In addition, we have a practice of refunding the post-delinquent premiums in our U.S. mortgage insurance business to the insured party if the delinquent loan goes to claim. We record a liability for premiums received on the delinquent loans where our practice is to refund post-delinquent premiums.
Premiums received under annuity contracts without significant mortality risk and premiums received on investment and universal life insurance products are not reported as revenues but rather as deposits and are included in liabilities for policyholder account balances.
b) Net Investment Income and Net Investment Gains and Losses
Investment income is recognized when earned. Income or losses upon call or prepayment of available-for-sale fixed maturity securities is recognized in net investment income, except for hybrid securities where the income or loss upon call is recognized in net investment gains and losses. Investment gains and losses are calculated on the basis of specific identification on the trade date.
Investment income on mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities is initially based upon yield, cash flow and prepayment assumptions at the date of purchase. Subsequent revisions in those assumptions are recorded using the retrospective or prospective method. Under the retrospective method used for mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities of high credit quality (ratings equal to or greater than “AA” or that are backed by a U.S. agency) which cannot be contractually prepaid in such a manner that we would not recover a substantial portion of the initial investment, amortized cost of the security is adjusted to the amount that would have existed had the revised assumptions been in place at the date of purchase. The adjustments to amortized cost are recorded as a charge or credit to net investment income. Under the prospective method, which is used for all other mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, future cash flows are estimated and interest income is recognized going forward using the new internal rate of return.
c) Policy Fees and Other Income
Policy fees and other income consists primarily of insurance charges assessed on universal and term universal life insurance contracts and fees assessed against customer account values. For universal and term universal life insurance contracts, charges to policyholder accounts for cost of insurance are recognized as revenue when due. Variable product fees are charged to variable annuity contractholders and variable life insurance policyholders based upon the daily net assets of the contractholder’s and policyholder’s account values and are recognized as revenue when charged. Policy surrender fees are recognized as income when the policy is surrendered.
At the time of purchase, we designate our fixed maturity securities as either available-for-sale or trading and report them in our consolidated balance sheets at fair value. Equity securities are recorded at fair value in our consolidated balance sheets and changes in the fair value are reflected in net investment gains (losses). Our portfolio of fixed maturity securities comprises primarily investment grade securities. Changes in the fair value of available-for-sale investments, net of the effect on deferred acquisition costs (“DAC”), present value of future profits (“PVFP”), benefit reserves and deferred income taxes, are reflected as unrealized investment gains or losses in a separate component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Realized and unrealized gains and losses related to trading securities are reflected in net investment gains (losses).
Other-Than-Temporary Impairments On Available-For-Sale Securities
As of each balance sheet date, we evaluate securities in an unrealized loss position for other-than-temporary impairments. For debt securities, we consider all available information relevant to the collectability of the security, including information about past events, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts, when developing the estimate of cash flows expected to be collected. More specifically for mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, we also utilize performance indicators of the underlying assets including default or delinquency rates, loan to collateral value ratios, third-party credit enhancements, current levels of subordination, vintage and other relevant characteristics of the security or underlying assets to develop our estimate of cash flows. Estimating the cash flows expected to be collected is a quantitative and qualitative process that incorporates information received from third-party sources along with certain internal assumptions and judgments regarding the future performance of the underlying collateral. Where possible, this data is benchmarked against third-party sources.
We recognize other-than-temporary impairments on debt securities in an unrealized loss position when one of the following circumstances exists:
we do not expect full recovery of our amortized cost basis when due,
the present value of cash flows expected to be collected is less than our amortized cost basis,
we intend to sell a security or
it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell a security prior to recovery.
For other-than-temporary impairments recognized during the period, we present the total other-than-temporary impairments, the portion of other-than-temporary impairments included in other comprehensive income (loss) (“OCI”) and the net other-than-temporary impairments as supplemental disclosure presented on the face of our consolidated statements of income.
Total other-than-temporary impairments that emerged in the current period are calculated as the difference between the amortized cost and fair value. For other-than-temporarily impaired securities where we do not intend to sell the security and it is not more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security prior to recovery, total other-than-temporary impairments are adjusted by the portion of other-than-temporary impairments recognized in OCI (“non-credit”). Net other-than-temporary impairments recorded in net income (loss) represent the credit loss on the other-than-temporarily impaired securities with the offset recognized as an adjustment to the amortized cost to determine the new amortized cost basis of the securities.
For securities that were deemed to be other-than-temporarily impaired and a non-credit loss was recorded in OCI, the amount recorded as an unrealized gain (loss) represents the difference between the current fair value and the new amortized cost for each period presented. The unrealized gain (loss) on an other-than-temporarily impaired security is recorded as a separate component in OCI until the security is sold or until we record an other-than-temporary impairment where we intend to sell the security or will be required to sell the security prior to recovery.
To estimate the amount of other-than-temporary impairment attributed to credit losses on debt securities where we do not intend to sell the security and it is not more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security prior to recovery, we determine our best estimate of the present value of the cash flows expected to be collected from a security using the effective yield on the security prior to recording any other-than-temporary impairment. If the present value of the discounted cash flows is lower than the amortized cost of the security, the difference between the present value and amortized cost represents the credit loss associated with the security with the remaining difference between fair value and amortized cost recorded as a non-credit other-than-temporary impairment in OCI.
The evaluation of other-than-temporary impairments is subject to risks and uncertainties and is intended to determine the appropriate amount and timing for recognizing an impairment charge. The assessment of whether such impairment has occurred is based on management’s best estimate of the cash flows expected to be collected at the individual security level. We regularly monitor our investment portfolio to ensure that securities that may be other-than-temporarily impaired are identified in a timely manner and that any impairment charge is recognized in the proper period.
While the other-than-temporary impairment model for debt securities generally includes fixed maturity securities, there are certain hybrid securities that are classified as fixed maturity securities where the application of a debt impairment model depends on whether there has been any evidence of deterioration in credit of the issuer, such as a downgrade to below investment grade. Under certain circumstances, evidence of deterioration in credit of the issuer may result in the application of the equity securities impairment model.
Prior to adopting new accounting guidance related to the recognition and measurement of financial assets and financial liabilities on January 1, 2018 (see “—Accounting Changes —Recognition and measurement of financial assets and liabilities” for additional details), we recognized an impairment charge for equity securities in the period in which we determined that the security would not recover to book value within a reasonable period of time. We determined what constituted a reasonable period on a security-by-security basis based upon consideration of all the evidence available to us, including the magnitude of an unrealized loss and its duration. In any event, this period did not exceed 15 months for common equity securities. We measured other-than-temporary impairments based upon the difference between the amortized cost of a security and its fair value.
e) Fair Value Measurements
Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. We have fixed maturity, equity and trading securities, derivatives, embedded derivatives, securities held as collateral, separate account assets and certain other financial instruments, which are carried at fair value.
Fair value measurements are based upon observable and unobservable inputs. Observable inputs reflect market data obtained from independent sources, while unobservable inputs reflect our view of market assumptions in the absence of observable market information. We utilize valuation techniques that maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs. All assets and liabilities carried at fair value are classified and disclosed in one of the following three categories:
Level 1—Quoted prices for identical instruments in active markets.
Level 2—Quoted prices for similar instruments in active markets; quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are not active; and model-derived valuations whose inputs are observable or whose significant value drivers are observable.
Level 3—Instruments whose significant value drivers are unobservable.
Level 1 primarily consists of financial instruments whose value is based on quoted market prices such as actively traded equity securities and actively traded mutual fund investments.
Level 2 includes those financial instruments that are valued using industry-standard pricing methodologies, models or other valuation methodologies. These models are primarily industry-standard models that consider various inputs, such as interest rate, credit spread and foreign exchange rates for the underlying financial instruments. All significant inputs are observable, or derived from observable information in the marketplace or are supported by observable levels at which transactions are executed in the marketplace. Financial instruments in this category primarily include: certain public and private corporate fixed maturity and equity securities; government or agency securities; certain mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities; securities held as collateral; and certain non-exchange-traded derivatives such as interest rate or cross currency swaps.
Level 3 comprises financial instruments whose fair value is estimated based on industry-standard pricing methodologies and internally developed models utilizing significant inputs not based on, nor corroborated by, readily available market information. In certain instances, this category may also utilize non-binding broker quotes. This category primarily consists of certain less liquid fixed maturity, equity and trading securities and certain derivative instruments or embedded derivatives where we cannot corroborate the significant valuation inputs with market observable data.
As of each reporting period, all assets and liabilities recorded at fair value are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. Our assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment, and considers factors specific to the asset or liability, such as the relative impact on the fair value as a result of including a particular input. We review the fair value hierarchy classifications each reporting period. Changes in the observability of the valuation attributes may result in a reclassification of certain financial assets or liabilities. Such reclassifications are reported as transfers in and out of Level 3 at the beginning fair value for the reporting period in which the changes occur. See note 16 for additional information related to fair value measurements.
f) Commercial Mortgage Loans
The carrying value of commercial mortgage loans is stated at original cost, net of principal payments, amortization and allowance for loan losses. Interest on loans is recognized on an accrual basis at the applicable interest rate on the principal amount outstanding. Loan origination fees and direct costs, as well as premiums and discounts, are amortized as level yield adjustments over the respective loan terms. Unamortized net fees or costs are recognized upon early repayment of the loans. Loan commitment fees are deferred and amortized on an effective yield basis over the term of the loan. Commercial mortgage loans are considered past due when contractual payments have not been received from the borrower by the required payment date.
“Impaired” loans are defined by U.S. GAAP as loans for which it is probable that the lender will be unable to collect all amounts due according to original contractual terms of the loan agreement. In determining whether it is probable that we will be unable to collect all amounts due, we consider current payment status, debt service coverage ratios, occupancy levels and current loan-to-value. Impaired loans are carried on a non-accrual status. Loans are placed on non-accrual status when, in management’s opinion, the collection of principal or interest is unlikely, or when the collection of principal or interest is 90 days or more past due. Income on impaired loans is not recognized until the loan is sold or the cash received exceeds the carrying amount recorded.
We evaluate the impairment of commercial mortgage loans first on an individual loan basis. If an individual loan is not deemed impaired, then we evaluate the remaining loans collectively to determine whether an impairment should be recorded.
For individually impaired loans, we record an impairment charge when it is probable that a loss has been incurred. The impairment is recorded as an increase in the allowance for loan losses. All losses of principal are charged to the allowance for loan losses in the period in which the loan is deemed to be uncollectible.
For loans that are not individually impaired where we evaluate the loans collectively, the allowance for loan losses is maintained at a level that we determine is adequate to absorb estimated probable incurred losses in the loan portfolio. Our process to determine the adequacy of the allowance utilizes an analytical model based on historical loss experience adjusted for current events, trends and economic conditions that would result in a loss in the loan portfolio over the next 12 months. Key inputs into our evaluation include debt service coverage ratios, loan-to-value, property-type, occupancy levels, geographic region, and probability weighting of the scenarios generated by the model. The actual amounts realized could differ in the near term from the amounts assumed in arriving at the allowance for loan losses reported in the consolidated financial statements. Additions and reductions to the allowance through periodic provisions or benefits are recorded in net investment gains (losses). See note 4 for additional disclosures related to commercial mortgage loans.
We previously had a repurchase program in which we sold an investment security at a specified price and agreed to repurchase that security at another specified price at a later date. Repurchase agreements were treated as collateralized financing transactions and were carried at the amounts at which the securities were subsequently reacquired, including accrued interest, as specified in the respective agreement. The fair value of securities to be repurchased was monitored and collateral levels were adjusted where appropriate to protect the parties against credit exposure. Cash received was invested in fixed maturity securities. See note 12 for additional information related to our repurchase agreements.
h) Securities Lending Activity
In the United States and Canada, we engage in certain securities lending transactions for the purpose of enhancing the yield on our investment securities portfolio. We maintain effective control over all loaned securities and, therefore, continue to report such securities as fixed maturity securities on the consolidated balance sheets. We are currently indemnified against counterparty credit risk by the intermediary. See note 12 for additional information related to our securities lending activity.
i) Cash, Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash
Certificates of deposit, money market funds and other time deposits with original maturities of 90 days or less are considered cash equivalents in the consolidated balance sheets and consolidated statements of cash flows. Items with maturities greater than 90 days but less than one year at the time of acquisition are considered short-term investments.
j) Deferred Acquisition Costs
Acquisition costs include costs that are directly related to the successful acquisition of new or renewal insurance contracts. Acquisition costs are deferred and amortized to the extent they are recoverable from future profits.
. Acquisition costs include commissions in excess of ultimate renewal commissions and for contracts issued, certain other costs such as underwriting, medical inspection and issuance expenses. DAC for traditional long-duration insurance contracts, including term life and long-term care insurance, is amortized as a level percentage of premiums based on assumptions, including, investment returns, health care experience (including type of care and cost of care), policyholder persistency or lapses (i.e., the probability that a policy or contract will remain in-force from one period to the next), insured life expectancy or longevity, insured morbidity (i.e., frequency and severity of claim, including claim termination rates and benefit utilization rates) and expenses, established when the contract is issued. Amortization is adjusted each period to reflect actual lapse or termination rates.
Amortization for deferred annuity and universal life insurance contracts is based on expected gross profits. Expected gross profits are adjusted quarterly to reflect actual experience to date or for changes in underlying assumptions relating to future gross profits. Estimates of gross profits for DAC amortization are based on assumptions including interest rates, policyholder persistency or lapses, insured life expectancy or longevity and expenses.
We are required to analyze the impacts from net unrealized investment gains and losses on our available-for-sale investment securities backing insurance liabilities, as if those unrealized investment gains and losses were realized. These “shadow accounting” adjustments result in the recognition of unrealized gains and losses on related insurance assets and liabilities in a manner consistent with the recognition of the unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale investment securities within the statement of comprehensive income and changes in equity. Changes to net unrealized investment (gains) losses may increase or decrease the ending DAC balance. Similar to a loss recognition event, when the DAC balance is reduced to zero, additional insurance liabilities are established if necessary. Unlike a loss recognition event, based on changes in net unrealized investment (gains) losses, these shadow adjustments may reverse from period to period.
Therefore, DAC amortized based on expected gross profits is adjusted to reflect the effects that would have been recognized had the unrealized investment (gains) losses been actually realized with a corresponding amount recorded in other comprehensive income (loss). DAC associated with traditional long-duration insurance contracts is not adjusted for unrealized investment (gains) or losses unless a premium deficiency would have resulted upon the (gain) or loss being realized.
Acquisition costs primarily consist of commissions and premium taxes and are amortized ratably over the terms of the underlying policies.
We regularly review our assumptions and test DAC for recoverability at least annually. For deferred annuity and universal life insurance contracts, if the present value of expected future gross profits is less than the unamortized DAC for a line of business, a charge to income (loss) is recorded for additional DAC amortization. For traditional long-duration and short-duration contracts, if the benefit reserve plus anticipated future premiums and interest income for a line of business are less than the current estimate of future benefits and expenses (including any unamortized DAC), a charge to income (loss) is recorded for additional DAC amortization or for increased benefit reserves. See note 6 for additional information related to DAC including loss recognition and recoverability.
Present Value of Future Profits.
In conjunction with the acquisition of a block of insurance policies or investment contracts, a portion of the purchase price is assigned to the right to receive future gross profits arising from existing insurance and investment contracts. This intangible asset, called PVFP, represents the actuarially estimated present value of future cash flows from the acquired policies. PVFP is amortized, net of accreted interest, in a manner similar to the amortization of DAC.
We regularly review our PVFP assumptions and periodically test PVFP for recoverability similar to our treatment of DAC. See note 7 for additional information related to PVFP including recoverability.
Deferred Sales Inducements to Contractholders.
We defer sales inducements to contractholders for features on variable annuities that entitle the contractholder to an incremental amount to be credited to the account value upon making a deposit, and for fixed annuities with crediting rates higher than the contract’s expected ongoing crediting rates for periods after the inducement. Deferred sales inducements to contractholders are reported as a separate intangible asset and amortized in benefits and other changes in policy reserves using the same methodology and assumptions used to amortize DAC.
. We amortize the costs of other intangibles over their estimated useful lives unless such lives are deemed indefinite. Amortizable intangible assets are tested for impairment based on undiscounted cash flows, which requires the use of estimates and judgment, and, if impaired, written down to fair value based on either discounted cash flows or appraised values. Intangible assets with indefinite lives are tested at least annually for impairment using a qualitative or quantitative assessment and are written down to fair value as required.
Goodwill is not amortized but is tested for impairment annually or between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of the reporting unit below its carrying value. The determination of fair value requires the use of estimates and judgment, at the “reporting unit” level. A reporting unit is the operating segment, or a business, one level below that operating segment (the “component” level) if discrete financial information is prepared and regularly reviewed by management at the component level. If the reporting unit’s fair value is below its carrying value, we recognize an impairment in an amount equal to the difference between the carrying value and the fair value of the reporting unit up to the amount of recorded goodwill. No goodwill impairment charges were recorded in 2018, 2017 or 2016.
Premium revenue, benefits and acquisition and operating expenses, net of deferrals, are reported net of the amounts relating to reinsurance ceded to and assumed from other companies. Amounts due from reinsurers for incurred and estimated future claims are reflected in the reinsurance recoverable asset. Amounts received from reinsurers that represent recovery of acquisition costs are netted against DAC so that the net amount is capitalized. The cost of reinsurance is accounted for over the terms of the related treaties using assumptions consistent with those used to account for the underlying reinsured policies. Premium revenue, benefits and acquisition and operating expenses, net of deferrals, for reinsurance contracts that do not qualify for reinsurance accounting are accounted for under the deposit method of accounting.
Derivative instruments are used to manage risk through one of four principal risk management strategies including: (i) liabilities; (ii) invested assets; (iii) portfolios of assets or liabilities; and (iv) forecasted transactions.
On the date we enter into a derivative contract, management designates the derivative as a hedge of the identified exposure (cash flow or foreign currency). If a derivative does not qualify for hedge accounting, the changes in its fair value and all scheduled periodic settlement receipts and payments are reported in income (loss).
We formally document all relationships between hedging instruments and hedged items, as well as our risk management objective and strategy for undertaking various hedge transactions. In this documentation, we specifically identify the asset, liability or forecasted transaction that has been designated as a hedged item, state how the hedging instrument is expected to hedge the risks related to the hedged item, and set forth the method that will be used to retrospectively and prospectively assess the hedging instrument’s effectiveness. We generally determine hedge effectiveness based on total changes in fair value of the hedged item attributable to the hedged risk and the total changes in fair value of the derivative instrument.
We discontinue hedge accounting prospectively when: (i) it is determined that the derivative is no longer effective in offsetting changes in the cash flows of a hedged item; (ii) the derivative expires or is sold, terminated or exercised; (iii) the derivative is de-designated as a hedge instrument; or (iv) it is no longer probable that the forecasted transaction will occur.
For all qualifying and highly effective cash flow hedges, changes in fair value of the derivative instrument is reported as a component of OCI. When hedge accounting is discontinued because it is probable that a forecasted transaction will not occur, the derivative continues to be carried in the consolidated balance sheets at its fair value, and gains and losses that were accumulated in OCI are recognized immediately in income (loss). When the hedged forecasted transaction is no longer probable, but is reasonably possible, the accumulated gain or loss remains in OCI and is recognized when the transaction affects income (loss); however, prospective hedge accounting for the transaction is terminated. In all other situations in which hedge accounting is discontinued on a cash flow hedge, amounts previously deferred in OCI are reclassified into income (loss) when income (loss) is impacted by the variability of the cash flow of the hedged item.
We may enter into contracts that are not themselves derivative instruments but contain embedded derivatives. For each contract, we assess whether the economic characteristics of the embedded derivative are clearly and closely related to those of the host contract and determine whether a separate instrument with the same terms as the embedded instrument would meet the definition of a derivative instrument.
If it is determined that the embedded derivative possesses economic characteristics that are not clearly and closely related to the economic characteristics of the host contract, and that a separate instrument with the same terms would qualify as a derivative instrument, the embedded derivative is separated from the host contract and accounted for as a stand-alone derivative. Such embedded derivatives are recorded in the consolidated balance sheets at fair value and are classified consistent with their host contract. Changes in their fair value are recognized in current period income (loss). If we are unable to properly identify and measure an embedded derivative for separation from its host contract, the entire contract is carried in the consolidated balance sheets at fair value, with changes in fair value recognized in current period income (loss).
Changes in the fair value of non-qualifying derivatives, including embedded derivatives, are reported in net investment gains (losses).
The majority of our derivative arrangements require the posting of collateral upon meeting certain net exposure thresholds. The amounts recognized for derivative counterparty collateral received by us was recorded in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash with a corresponding amount recorded in other liabilities to represent our obligation to return the collateral retained by us. We also receive non-cash collateral that is not recognized in our balance sheet unless we exercise our right to sell or re-pledge the underlying asset. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the fair value of non-cash collateral received was $40 million and $70 million, respectively, and the underlying assets were not sold or re-pledged. We have pledged $536 million and $288 million of fixed maturity securities as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Additionally, as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, we pledged $57 million and $59 million, respectively, of cash as collateral to derivative counterparties. Fixed maturity securities that we pledge as collateral remain on our balance sheet within fixed maturity securities available-for-sale. Any cash collateral pledged to a derivative counterparty is derecognized with a receivable recorded in other assets for the right to receive our cash collateral back from the counterparty. Derivatives previously cleared through a Central Clearing Party, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, required us to post cash collateral for daily changes in the fair value of the derivative contract, commonly referred to as variation margin. In the third quarter of 2017, central clearing parties rule changes impacted our accounting treatment for variation margin pertaining to cleared swap positions, which were previously considered cash collateral and are now treated as daily settlements of the derivative contract.
o) Separate Accounts and Related Insurance Obligations
Separate account assets represent funds for which the investment income and investment gains and losses accrue directly to the contractholders and are reflected in our consolidated balance sheets at fair value, reported as summary total separate account assets with an equivalent summary total reported for liabilities. Amounts assessed against the contractholders for mortality, administrative and other services are included in revenues. Changes in liabilities for minimum guarantees are included in benefits and other changes in policy reserves. Net investment income, net investment gains (losses) and the related liability changes associated with the separate account are offset within the same line item in the consolidated statements of income. There were no gains or losses on transfers of assets from the general account to the separate account.
We offer certain minimum guarantees associated with our variable annuity contracts. Our variable annuity contracts usually contain a basic guaranteed minimum death benefit (“GMDB”) which provides a minimum benefit to be paid upon the annuitant’s death equal to the larger of account value and the return of net deposits. Some variable annuity contracts permit contractholders to purchase through riders, at an additional charge, enhanced death benefits such as the highest contract anniversary value (“ratchets”), accumulated net deposits at a stated rate (“rollups”), or combinations thereof.
Additionally, some of our variable annuity contracts provide the contractholder with living benefits such as a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit (“GMWB”) or certain types of guaranteed annuitization benefits. The GMWB allows contractholders to withdraw a pre-defined percentage of account value or benefit base each year, either for a specified period of time or for life. The guaranteed annuitization benefit generally provides for a guaranteed minimum level of income upon annuitization accompanied by the potential for upside market participation.
Most of our reserves for additional insurance and annuitization benefits are calculated by applying a benefit ratio to accumulated contractholder assessments, and then deducting accumulated paid claims. The benefit ratio is equal to the ratio of benefits to assessments, accumulated with interest and considering both past and anticipated future experience. The projections utilize stochastic scenarios of separate account returns incorporating reversion to the mean, as well as assumptions for mortality and lapses. Some of our minimum guarantees, mainly GMWBs, are accounted for as embedded derivatives; see notes 5 and 16 for additional information on these embedded derivatives and related fair value measurement disclosures.
The liability for future policy benefits is equal to the present value of expected benefits and expenses less the present value of expected future net premiums based on assumptions, including, investment returns, health care experience (including type of care and cost of care), policyholder persistency or lapses (i.e., the probability that a policy or contract will remain in-force from one period to the next), insured life expectancy or longevity, insured morbidity (i.e., frequency and severity of claim, including claim termination rates and benefit utilization rates) and expenses, all of which are locked-in at the time the policies are issued or acquired. Claim termination rates refer to the expected rates at which claims end. Benefit utilization rates estimate how much of the available policy benefits are expected to be used.
The liability for future policy benefits is evaluated at least annually to determine if a premium deficiency exists. Loss recognition testing is generally performed at the line of business level, with acquired blocks and certain reinsured blocks tested separately. If the liability for future policy benefits plus the current present value of expected future premiums are less than the current present value of expected future benefits and expenses (including any unamortized DAC), a charge to income (loss) is recorded for accelerated DAC amortization and, if necessary, a premium deficiency reserve is established. If a charge is recorded, DAC amortization and the liability for future policy benefits are measured using updated assumptions, which become the new locked-in assumptions utilized going forward unless another premium deficiency charge is recorded. Our estimates of future in-force rate actions used in loss recognition testing for our long-term care insurance business include assumptions for significant premium rate increases and associated benefit reductions that have been approved or are anticipated to be approved (including premium rate increases and associated benefit reductions not yet filed). These anticipated future increases are based on our best estimate of the rate increases we expect to obtain, considering, among other factors, our historical experience from prior rate increase approvals and based on our best estimate of expected claim costs.
We are also required to accrue additional future policy benefit reserves when the overall reserve is adequate, but profits are projected in early periods followed by losses projected in later periods. When this pattern of profits followed by losses exists, we ratably accrue this additional profits followed by losses liability over time, increasing reserves in the profitable periods to offset estimated losses expected during the periods that follow. We calculate and adjust the additional reserves using our current best estimate of the amount necessary to offset the losses in future periods, based on the pattern of expected income and current best estimate assumptions consistent with our loss recognition testing. We adjust the accrual rate prospectively, going forward over the remaining profit periods, without any catch-up adjustment.
For long-term care insurance products, benefit reductions are treated as partial lapse of coverage with the balance of our future policy benefits and DAC both reduced in proportion to the reduced coverage. For level premium term life insurance products, we floor the liability for future policy benefits on each policy at zero.
Estimates and actuarial assumptions used for establishing the liability for future policy benefits and in loss recognition testing involve the exercise of significant judgment, and changes in assumptions or deviations of actual experience from assumptions can have material impacts on our liability for future policy benefits and net income (loss). Because these assumptions relate to factors that are not known in advance, change over time, are difficult to accurately predict and are inherently uncertain, we cannot determine with precision the ultimate amounts we will pay for actual claims or the timing of those payments. Small changes in assumptions or small deviations of actual experience from assumptions can have, and in the past have had, material impacts on our reserves, results of operations and financial condition. The risk that our claims experience may differ significantly from our pricing and valuation assumptions is particularly significant for our long-term care insurance products. Long-term care insurance policies provide for long-duration coverage and, therefore, our actual claims experience will emerge over many years after pricing and locked-in valuation assumptions have been established.
Policyholder Account Balances
The liability for policyholder account balances represents the contract value that has accrued to the benefit of the policyholder as of the balance sheet date for investment-type and universal life insurance contracts. We are also required to establish additional benefit reserves for guarantees or product features in addition to the contract value where the additional benefit reserves are calculated by applying a benefit ratio to accumulated contractholder assessments, and then deducting accumulated paid claims. The benefit ratio is equal to the ratio of benefits to assessments, accumulated with interest and considering both past and anticipated future experience.
Investment-type contracts are broadly defined to include contracts without significant mortality or morbidity risk. Payments received from sales of investment contracts are recognized by providing a liability equal to the current account value of the policyholders’ contracts. Interest rates credited to investment contracts are guaranteed for the initial policy term with renewal rates determined as necessary by management.
q) Liability for Policy and Contract Claims
The liability for policy and contract claims, or claim reserves, represents the amount needed to provide for the estimated ultimate cost of settling claims relating to insured events that have occurred on or before the end of the respective reporting period. The estimated liability includes requirements for future payments of: (a) claims that have been reported to the insurer; (b) claims related to insured events that have occurred but that have not been reported to the insurer as of the date the liability is estimated; and (c) claim adjustment expenses. Claim adjustment expenses include costs incurred in the claim settlement process such as legal fees and costs to record, process and adjust claims.
Our liability for policy and contract claims is reviewed regularly, with changes in our estimates of future claims recorded through net income (loss). Estimates and actuarial assumptions used for establishing the liability for policy and contract claims involve the exercise of significant judgment, and changes in assumptions or deviations of actual experience from assumptions can have material impacts on our liability for policy and contract claims and net income (loss). Because these assumptions relate to factors that are not known in advance, change over time, are difficult to accurately predict and are inherently uncertain, we cannot determine with precision the ultimate amounts we will pay for actual claims or the timing of those payments. Small changes in assumptions or small deviations of actual experience from assumptions can have, and in the past have had, material impacts on our reserves, results of operations and financial condition.
The liability for policy and contract claims for our long-term care insurance products represents the present value of the amount needed to provide for the estimated ultimate cost of settling claims relating to insured events that have occurred on or before the end of the respective reporting period. Key assumptions include investment returns, health care experience (including type of care and cost of care), policyholder persistency or lapses (i.e., the probability that a policy or contract will remain in-force from one period to the next), insured mortality (i.e., life expectancy or longevity), insured morbidity (i.e., frequency and severity of claim, including claim termination rates and benefit utilization rates) and expenses. Claim termination rates refer to the expected rates at which claims end. Benefit utilization rates estimate how much of the available policy benefits are expected to be used. Both claim termination rates and benefit utilization rates are influenced by, among other things, gender, age at claim, diagnosis, type of care needed, benefit period, and daily benefit amount. Because these assumptions relate to factors that are not known in advance, change over time, are difficult to accurately predict and are inherently uncertain, we cannot determine with precision the ultimate amounts we will pay for actual claims or the timing of those payments. Small changes in assumptions or small deviations of actual experience from assumptions can have, and in the past have had, material impacts on our reserves, results of operations and financial condition.
The liabilities for our mortgage insurance policies represent our best estimates of the liabilities at the time based on known facts, trends and other external factors, including economic conditions, housing prices and employment rates. For our mortgage insurance policies, reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses are based on notices of mortgage loan defaults and estimates of defaults that have been incurred but have not been reported by loan servicers, using assumptions of claim rates for loans in default and the average amount paid for loans that result in a claim. As is common accounting practice in the mortgage insurance industry and in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we begin to provide for the ultimate claim payment relating to a potential claim on a defaulted loan when the status of that loan first goes delinquent. Over time, as the status of the underlying delinquent loans move toward foreclosure and the likelihood of the associated claim loss increases, the amount of the loss reserves associated with the potential claims may also increase.
Management considers the liability for policy and contract claims provided to be its best estimate to cover the losses that have occurred. Management monitors a
ctual experience, and where circumstances warrant, will revise its assumptions. The methods of determining such estimates and establishing the reserves are reviewed periodically and any adjustments are reflected in operations in the period in which they become known. Future developments may result in losses and loss expenses greater or less than the liability for policy and contract claims provided.
For single premium insurance contracts, we recognize premiums over the policy life in accordance with the expected pattern of risk emergence. We recognize a portion of the revenue in premiums earned in the current period, while the remaining portion is deferred as unearned premiums and earned over time in accordance with the expected pattern of risk emergence. If single premium policies are cancelled and the premium is non-refundable, then the remaining unearned premium related to each cancelled policy is recognized to earned premiums upon notification of the cancellation. Expected pattern of risk emergence on which we base premium recognition is inherently judgmental and is based on actuarial analysis of historical experience. We periodically review our premium earnings recognition models with any adjustments to the estimates reflected as a cumulative adjustment in current period income (loss). For the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we reviewed our premium recognition factors for our mortgage insurance businesses. These reviews included the consideration of recent and projected loss experience, policy cancellation experience and refinement of actuarial methods. In 2018, adjustments associated with this review resulted in an increase in earned premiums of $3 million in our Canada mortgage insurance business. In 2017, the review resulted in a decrease in earned premiums of $468 million in our Australia mortgage insurance business. We did not have any adjustments associated with this review in 2016.
s) Stock-Based Compensation
We determine a grant date fair value and recognize the related compensation expense, adjusted for expected forfeitures, through the income statement over the respective vesting period of the awards.
t) Employee Benefit Plans
We provide employees with a defined contribution pension plan and recognize expense throughout the year based on the employee’s age, service and eligible pay. We make an annual contribution to the plan. We also provide employees with defined contribution savings plans. We recognize expense for our contributions to the savings plans at the time employees make contributions to the plans.
Some employees participate in defined benefit pension and postretirement benefit plans. We recognize expense for these plans based upon actuarial valuations performed by external experts. We estimate aggregate benefits by using assumptions for employee turnover, future compensation increases, rates of return on pension plan assets and future health care costs. We recognize an expense for differences between actual experience and estimates over the average future service period of participants. We recognize the overfunded or underfunded status of a defined benefit plan as an asset or liability in our consolidated balance sheets and recognize changes in that funded status in the year in which the changes occur through OCI.
We determine deferred tax assets and/or liabilities by multiplying the differences between the financial reporting and tax reporting bases for assets and liabilities by the enacted tax rates expected to be in effect when such differences are recovered or settled if there is no change in law. The effect on deferred taxes of a change in tax rates is recognized in income (loss) in the period that includes the enactment date. Valuation allowances on deferred tax assets are estimated based on our assessment of the realizability of such amounts.
Under U.S. GAAP, we are generally required to record U.S. deferred taxes on the anticipated repatriation of foreign income as the income is recognized for financial reporting purposes. An exception under certain accounting guidance permits us not to record a U.S. deferred tax liability for foreign income that we expect to reinvest in our foreign operations and for which remittance will be postponed indefinitely. If it becomes apparent that we cannot positively assert that some or all undistributed income will be reinvested indefinitely, the related deferred taxes are recorded in that period based on the expected form of repatriation (i.e. distribution, loan or sale).
In determining indefinite reinvestment, we regularly evaluate the capital needs of our domestic and foreign operations considering all available information, including operating and capital plans, regulatory capital requirements, parent company financing and cash flow needs, as well as the applicable tax laws to which our domestic and foreign subsidiaries are subject. Our estimates are based on our historical experience and our expectation of future performance. Our judgments and assumptions are subject to change given the inherent uncertainty in predicting future capital needs, which are impacted by such things as regulatory requirements, policyholder behavior, competitor pricing, new product introductions, and specific industry and market conditions.
Similarly, under another exception to the recognition of deferred taxes under U.S. GAAP, we do not record deferred taxes on U.S. domestic subsidiary entities for the excess of the financial statement carrying amount over the tax basis in the stock of the subsidiary (commonly referred to as “outside basis difference”) if we have the ability under the tax law and intent to recover the basis difference in a tax free manner. Deferred taxes would be recognized in the period of a change to our ability or intent.
Our companies have elected to file a single U.S. consolidated income tax return (the “life/non-life consolidated return”). All companies domesticated in the United States
and our former Bermuda subsidiary, which elected to be taxed as a U.S. domestic company,
included in the life/non-life consolidated return as allowed by the tax law and regulations. We have a tax sharing agreement in place and all intercompany balances related to this agreement are settled at least annually.
v) Foreign Currency Translation
The determination of the functional currency is made based on the appropriate economic and management indicators. The assets and liabilities of foreign operations are translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the balance sheet date. Translation adjustments are included as a separate component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Revenues and expenses of the foreign operations are translated into U.S. dollars at the average rates of exchange during the period of the transaction. Gains and losses from foreign currency transactions are reported in income (loss) and have not been material in any years presented in our consolidated statements of income.
w) Variable Interest Entities
We are involved in certain entities that are considered VIEs as defined under U.S. GAAP, and, accordingly, we evaluate the VIE to determine whether we are the primary beneficiary and are required to consolidate the assets and liabilities of the entity. The primary beneficiary of a VIE is the enterprise that has the power to direct the activities of a VIE that most significantly impacts the VIE’s economic performance and has the obligation to absorb losses or receive benefits that could potentially be significant to the VIE. The determination of the primary beneficiary for a VIE can be complex and requires management judgment regarding the expected results of the entity and how those results are absorbed by variable interest holders, as well as which party has the power to direct activities that most significantly impact the performance of the VIEs.
Our primary involvement related to VIEs includes securitization transactions, certain investments and certain mortgage insurance policies.
We have retained interests in VIEs where we are the servicer and transferor of certain assets that were sold to a newly created VIE. Additionally, for certain securitization transactions, we were the transferor of certain assets that were sold to a newly created VIE but did not retain any beneficial interest in the VIE other than acting as the servicer of the underlying assets.
We hold investments in certain structures that are considered VIEs. Our investments represent beneficial interests that are primarily in the form of structured securities or alternative investments. Our involvement in these structures typically represent a passive investment in the returns generated by the VIE and typically do not result in having significant influence over the economic performance of the VIE.
We also provide mortgage insurance on certain residential mortgage loans originated and securitized by third parties using VIEs to issue mortgage-backed securities. While we provide mortgage insurance on the underlying loans, we do not typically have any ongoing involvement with the VIE other than our mortgage insurance coverage and do not act in a servicing capacity for the underlying loans held by the VIE.
See note 17 for additional information related to these consolidated entities.
On January 1, 2018, we early adopted new accounting guidance on the reclassification from accumulated other comprehensive income to retained earnings for stranded tax effects resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), or “stranded tax effects.” Under U.S. GAAP, deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted for the effect of a change in tax laws or rates with the effect included in income (loss) from continuing operations in the period that the changes were enacted. This also includes situations in which the related tax effects were originally recognized in other comprehensive income (loss) as opposed to income (loss) from continuing operations. The following summarizes the components for the cumulative effect adjustment recorded on January 1, 2018 related to the adoption of this new accounting guidance:
Accumulated other comprehensive
Net unrealized gains on investment securities
Net unrealized gains on derivatives
Investment in foreign subsidiaries
Accrued commission and general expenses
Cumulative effect of changes in accounting
The accounting for the temporary differences related to investment in foreign subsidiaries recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) at adoption of the TCJA were provisional. Additional reclassification adjustments are permitted under this new accounting guidance in future periods as the tax effects of the TCJA on related temporary differences are finalized. However, no reclassification adjustments were recorded during the second, third or fourth quarters of 2018. Other than those effects related to the TCJA, our policy is to release stranded tax effects from accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) using the portfolio approach for items related to investments and derivatives, and upon disposition of a subsidiary for items related to outside basis differences.
Amendments to the Hedge Accounting Model
On January 1, 2018, we early adopted new accounting guidance related to the hedge accounting model. The new guidance amends the hedge accounting model to enable entities to better portray the economics of their derivative risk management activities in the financial statements and enhance the transparency and understandability of hedge results. In certain situations, the amendments also simplify the application of hedge accounting and removed the requirements to separately measure and report hedge ineffectiveness. We adopted this new accounting using the modified retrospective method and recognized a gain of $2 million in accumulated other comprehensive income with a corresponding decrease to retained earnings at adoption. This gain was the cumulative amount of hedge ineffectiveness related to active hedges that was previously included in earnings.
Accounting for Share-Based Compensation as a Modification
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance that clarifies when to account for a change to share-based compensation as a modification. The new guidance requires modification accounting only if there are changes to the fair value, vesting conditions or classification as a liability or equity of the share-based compensation. We adopted this new accounting guidance prospectively and therefore, the guidance did not have any impact at adoption.
Derecognition of Nonfinancial Assets
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance that clarifies the scope and accounting for gains and losses from the derecognition of nonfinancial assets or an in substance nonfinancial asset that is not a business and accounting for partial sales of nonfinancial assets. The new guidance clarifies when transferring ownership interests in a consolidated subsidiary holding nonfinancial assets is within scope. It also states that the reporting entity should identify each distinct nonfinancial asset and derecognize when a counterparty obtains control. We adopted this new accounting guidance using the modified retrospective method, which had no impact on our consolidated financial statements at adoption.
Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment
On January 1, 2018, we early adopted new accounting guidance simplifying the test for goodwill impairment. The new guidance states goodwill impairment is equal to the difference between the carrying value and fair value of the reporting unit up to the amount of recorded goodwill. We adopted this new accounting guidance prospectively and applied it to our 2018 goodwill impairment test. This new accounting guidance simplified the test for goodwill impairment but had no impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Classification and Presentation of Changes in Restricted Cash
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the classification and presentation of changes in restricted cash. The new guidance requires that changes in the total of cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents be shown in the statements of cash flows and requires additional disclosures related to restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents. We adopted this new accounting guidance retrospectively and modified the line item descriptions on our consolidated balance sheets and statements of cash flows in our consolidated financial statements. The other impacts from this new accounting guidance did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements or disclosures.
Income Tax Effects of Intra-Entity Transfers of Assets Other Than Inventory
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the income tax effects of intra-entity transfers of assets other than inventory. The new guidance states that an entity should recognize the income tax consequences of an intra-entity transfer of an asset other than inventory when the transfer occurs. We adopted this new accounting guidance using the modified retrospective method, which did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements or disclosures at adoption.
Classification of Certain Cash Payments and Receipts
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the classification of certain cash payments and cash receipts on our statement of cash flows. The guidance reduces diversity in practice related to eight specific cash flow issues. We adopted this new accounting guidance retrospectively. We reclassified a $20 million make-whole premium that was incurred in the first quarter of 2016 previously included in the operating activities section of the statement of cash flows, within the line item “other liabilities, policy and contract claims and other policy-related balances” to the financing activities section within the line item “repayment and repurchase of long-term debt.” The reclassification resulted in an increase in net cash used by financing activities and an increase in net cash from operating activities. The remaining specific cash flow issues did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Liabilities
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the recognition and measurement of financial assets and financial liabilities. Changes to financial instruments accounting primarily affects equity investments, financial liabilities under the fair value option, and the presentation and disclosure requirements for financial instruments. Under the new guidance, equity investments with readily determinable fair value, except those accounted for under the equity method of accounting, are measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in net income (loss). The new guidance also clarifies that the need for a valuation allowance on a deferred tax asset related to available-for-sale securities should be evaluated in combination with other deferred tax assets. We adopted this new accounting guidance using the modified retrospective method and reclassified, after adjustments for DAC and other intangible amortization and certain benefit reserves, taxes and noncontrolling interests, $25 million of gains related to equity securities from accumulated other comprehensive income and $17 million of gains related to limited partnerships previously recorded at cost to cumulative effect of change in accounting within retained earnings.
On January 1, 2018, we adopted new accounting guidance related to revenue from contracts with customers. The key principle of the new guidance is that entities should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for such goods or services. Insurance contracts are specifically excluded from this new guidance. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“the FASB”) has clarified the scope that all of our insurance contracts, including mortgage insurance and investment contracts are excluded from the scope of this new guidance. We adopted this new accounting guidance using the modified retrospective method, which did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements at adoption.
Simplified Share-Based Payment Transactions
On January 1, 2017, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the accounting for stock compensation. The guidance primarily simplifies the accounting for employee share-based payment transactions, including a new requirement to record all of the income tax effects at settlement or expiration through the income statement, classifications of awards as either equity or liabilities, and classification on the statement of cash flows. We adopted this new accounting guidance on a modified retrospective basis and recorded a previously disallowed deferred tax asset of $9 million with a corresponding increase to cumulative effect of change in accounting within retained earnings at adoption.
Transition to the Equity Method of Accounting
On January 1, 2017, we adopted new accounting guidance related to transition to the equity method of accounting. The guidance eliminates the retrospective application of the equity method of accounting when obtaining significant influence over a previously held investment. The guidance requires that an entity that has an available-for-sale equity security that becomes qualified for the equity method of accounting recognize through earnings the unrealized holding gain or loss in accumulated other comprehensive income at the date the investment becomes qualified for use of the equity method.
This accounting guidance
not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Assessment of Contingent Put and Call Options
On January 1, 2017, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the assessment of contingent put and call options in debt instruments. The guidance clarifies the requirements for assessing whether contingent call (put) options that can accelerate the payment of principal on debt instruments are clearly and closely related to their debt hosts. An entity performing the assessment under the amendments in this update is required to assess the embedded call (put) options solely in accordance with the four-step decision sequence. This guidance is consistent with our previous accounting practices and, accordingly, had no impact on our consolidated financial statements.
Derivative Contract Novations
On January 1, 2017, we adopted new accounting guidance related to the effect of derivative contract novations on existing hedge accounting relationships. The guidance clarifies that a change in the counterparty to a derivative instrument that has been designated as the hedging instrument does not, in and of itself, require dedesignation of that hedging relationship provided that all other hedge accounting criteria continue to be met. This guidance is consistent with our previous accounting for derivative contract novations and, accordingly, had no impact on our consolidated financial statements.
On December 31, 2016, we adopted new disclosure requirements for short-duration insurance contracts. The new guidance requires additional disclosures on short-duration policy and contract claims liabilities for incurred and paid claims development, unpaid claims and claims frequency. This new guidance did not have any impact on our consolidated financial statements but did impact our disclosures. See note 10 for more information related to our short-duration contracts.
Technical Corrections and Improvements
In March 2016, the FASB issued new guidance to remove inconsistencies as well as make technical clarifications and minor improvements intended to make it easier to understand and implement certain accounting guidance. Impacts of the new guidance for us includes: promoting consistent use of the terms “participating insurance” and “reinsurance recoverable,” removing the term “debt” from the master glossary; adding a reference to use when accounting for internal-use software licensed from third parties; clarifying that loans issued under the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration do not have to be fully insured by those programs to recognize profit using the full-accrual method; clarifying the difference between a “valuation approach” and a “valuation technique” when applying fair value guidance and require disclosure when there has been a change in either a valuation approach, a valuation technique, or both; clarifying that for an amount of an obligation under an arrangement to be considered fixed at the reporting date, the amount that must be fixed is not the amount that is the organization’s portion of the obligation, but, rather, is the obligation in its entirety; and adding guidance on the accounting for the sale of servicing rights when the transferor retains loans. Most of the amendments were adopted on December 31, 2016 and in some cases on January 1, 2017, using a prospective method. There was no significant impact from this guidance on our consolidated financial statements.
On January 1, 2016, we adopted new accounting guidance related to consolidation. The new guidance primarily impacts limited partnerships and similar legal entities, evaluation of fees paid to a decision maker as a variable interest, the effect of fee arrangements and related parties on the primary beneficiary determination and certain investment funds. The adoption of this new guidance did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.
y) Accounting Pronouncements Not Yet Adopted
In October 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to benchmark interest rates used in derivative hedge accounting. The guidance adds an additional permissible U.S. benchmark interest rate, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, for hedge accounting purposes. We adopted this new accounting guidance on January 1, 2019 using the prospective method, which did not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements and disclosures at adoption.
In August 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance that significantly changes the recognition and measurement of long-duration insurance contracts and expands disclosure requirements, which impacts our life insurance DAC and liabilities. In accordance with the guidance, the more significant changes include:
assumptions will no longer be locked-in at contract inception and all cash flow assumptions used to estimate the liability for future policy benefits will be reviewed at least annually in the same period each year or more frequently if actual experience indicates a change is required;
changes in cash flow assumptions (except the discount rate) will be recorded in net income (loss) using a retrospective approach with a cumulative catch-up adjustment by recalculating the net premium ratio (which will be capped at 100%) using actual historical and updated future cash flow assumptions;
the discount rate used to determine the liability for future policy benefits will be a current upper-medium grade (low credit risk) fixed-income instrument yield, which is generally interpreted to mean a single-A rated bond rate for the same duration, and is required to be reviewed quarterly, with changes in the discount rate recorded in other comprehensive income (loss);
the provision for adverse deviation and the premium deficiency test are eliminated;
market risk benefits associated with deposit-type contracts will be measured at fair value with changes recorded in net income (loss);
the amortization method for DAC will generally be on a straight-line basis over the expected contract term; and
disclosures will be greatly expanded to include significant assumptions and product liability rollforwards.
The guidance is currently effective for us on January 1, 2021 using the modified retrospective method, with early adoption permitted. We are in process of evaluating the new guidance and the impact it will have on our consolidated financial statements.
In August 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to disclosure requirements for defined benefit plans as part of its disclosure framework project. The guidance adds, eliminates and modifies certain disclosure requirements for defined benefit pension and other postretirement benefit plans. The guidance is currently effective for us on January 1, 2020 using the retrospective method, with early adoption permitted. We do not expect any significant impact from this guidance on our consolidated financial statements and disclosures.
In August 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to fair value disclosure requirements as part of its disclosure framework project. The guidance adds, eliminates and modifies certain disclosure requirements for fair value measurements. The guidance includes new disclosure requirements related to the change in unrealized gains and losses included in other comprehensive income (loss) for recurring Level 3 fair value measurements held at the end of the reporting period and the range and weighted-average of significant unobservable inputs used to develop Level 3 fair value measurements. The guidance is currently effective for us on January 1, 2020 using the prospective method for certain disclosures and the retrospective method for all other disclosures. Early adoption of either the entire standard or only the provisions that eliminate or modify the requirements is permitted. We are in process of evaluating the impact the guidance may have on our consolidated financial statements and disclosures.
In June 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to accounting for nonemployee share-based payments. The guidance aligns the measurement and classification of share-based payments to nonemployees issued in exchange for goods or services with the guidance for share-based payments to employees, with certain exceptions. We adopted this new accounting guidance on January 1, 2019 using the modified retrospective method. This guidance is consistent with our previous accounting practices and, accordingly, had no impact on our consolidated financial statements at adoption.
In March 2017, the FASB issued new accounting guidance shortening the amortization period of certain callable debt securities held at a premium. The guidance requires the premium to be amortized to the earliest call date. This change does not apply to securities held at a discount. We adopted this new accounting guidance on January 1, 2019 using the modified retrospective method, which had no significant impact on our consolidated financial statements at adoption.
In June 2016, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to accounting for credit losses on financial instruments. The guidance requires that entities recognize an allowance equal to its estimate of lifetime expected credit losses and applies to most debt instruments not measured at fair value, which would primarily include our commercial mortgage loans and reinsurance receivables. The new guidance retains most of the existing impairment guidance for available-for-sale debt securities but amends the presentation of credit losses to be presented as an allowance as opposed to a write-down and permits the reversal of credit losses when reassessing changes in the credit losses each reporting period. The new guidance is effective for us on January 1, 2020, with early adoption permitted beginning January 1, 2019. Upon adoption, the modified retrospective method will be used and a cumulative effect adjustment in retained earnings as of the beginning of the year of adoption will be recorded. We are in process of evaluating the impact the guidance may have on our consolidated financial statements.
In February 2016, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to the accounting for leases and issued further amendments in January 2018, July 2018 and December 2018. The new guidance generally requires lessees to recognize both a right-to-use asset and a corresponding liability on the balance sheet. We adopted this new accounting guidance on January 1, 2019 using the optional transition method practical expedient, which permits entities to apply the new lease standard using the modified retrospective transition approach at the date of adoption.
Upon adoption we recorded, before any adjustment for deferred taxes, approximately a $67
million right-of-use asset related to operating leases included in other assets and a corresponding lease liability included in other liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet. We also elected to apply the package of practical expedients upon
adoption. This new accounting guidance also requires new disclosures to meet the objective of enabling users of financial statements to assess the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases.