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Genworth Financial Inc. says one key measure of its U.S. life insurance company capitalization levels improved in 2018, and that the risk-based capital (RBC) ratio for the U.S. life business fell.

(Related: Genworth’s Life RBC Ratio Falls Sharply)

The Richmond, Virginia-based company says that the “positive margin,” or capital cushion, at its Genworth Life Insurance Company (GLIC) unit increased to $1.5 billion at the end of 2018, from about $600 million a year earlier.

GLIC’s RBC level fell to 199%, according to a summary of new cash-flow testing results that was released Tuesday.

That compares with 282% at the end of 2017, Genworth says.

Earlier this month, Genworth predicted that the GLIC RBC ratio for the end of 2018 would be somewhere between 190% and 200%.

The Company

Genworth has been a major player in the U.S. life and annuity markets, and a dominant player in the U.S. long-term care insurance (LTCI) market. It continues to offer LTCI, and it continues to operate a mortgage insurance business.

Genworth breaks out separate results for Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company (GLAIC) — a unit has that focused mainly on writing annuities — and Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York (GLICNY).

Genworth has written the bulk of its LTCI coverage through GLIC and GLICNY.

Margin Details

Genworth says the GLIC margin improved because of some benefits from future premium increases; an expectation that some policyholders will let contracts lapse, or hold down premium costs, by accepting lower levels of benefits; and other adjustments related to aging and modeling updates.

The company is also expecting claims to increase, and that’s likely to offset some of the effects of the positive adjustments, Genworth says.

RBC Ratios

Regulators at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners developed the RBC ratio system to provide a benchmark statistic they could use to get a rough idea of how well an insurer is capitalized.

An RBC rating is supposed to show about how much capital an insurer has to back its obligations, after adjusting for how regulators classify the riskiness of the instruments in which the insurer’s assets are invested.

There are two ways to express RBC ratios. Under the RBC ratio calculation method Genworth uses, an RBC ratio of 100% would be the ratio at which an insurer would have to provide a formal explanation of how it intended to proceed.

RBC Ratio Details

Genworth says the RBC ratio at GLAIC ended 2018 at 422%. Genworth reported in February 2018 that GLAIC ended 2017 with an RBC ratio of 420% to 430%.

GLICNY ended 2018 with an RBC ratio of 223%, down from 280% to 290% a year earlier, according to Genworth.

New York State and GLICNY

In 2018, Genworth said it had agreed to add $300 million to GLICNY reserves over two years, at the request of the New York Department of Financial Services.

Genworth says in the new cash-flow testing results announcement that the New York department approved a GLICNY rate increase request in 2018.

The approval of the rate increase request eliminated the need for the phase-in of additional reserves, Genworth says.

— Read Genworth Posts Lower Capital Ratio for New York Uniton ThinkAdvisor.

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