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APRA shrugs off expanded data worries

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has rejected industry protests and will go ahead with a plan to provide additional statistics on general insurance in expanded industry and institutional level reports.

The industry’s concerns included worries about commercial interests, the administrative burden and the unaudited nature of quarterly data.

But APRA says a 2015 decision identified certain data as non-confidential because the public benefit outweighs any detriment to commercial interests.

It expects insurers to have data of “appropriate quality for prudential supervision”, even if not yet audited.

“Where data has not yet been published and subject to external scrutiny, APRA anticipates that the publication of the data will provide opportunities for industry to improve the quality of submitted data,” it says.

“Submissions were broadly supportive of the proposed industry-level and claims development statistics and provided useful feedback on the content and format.”

The industry-level statistics will include more information related to investments, capital adequacy and underwriting performance, and will also modernise the segments to reflect industry changes since the 1980s.

In most cases the data APRA intends to publish at a segment level is already non-confidential, but in other cases the regulator says it will ensure confidential information related to an individual general insurer cannot be derived from the published statistics.

The regulator also says separately listing recoverables from APRA-authorised and non-authorised reinsurers is justified because the split reflects different capital weights given to each and is a valid representation of the different level of risk attached.

In a discussion paper last year APRA said it proposed making all non-confidential, institution-level data available through a new online tool.

APRA had been publishing about 2% of non-confidential data in its General Insurance Institution-Level Statistics and proposed to increase this to about 15% in a new quarterly report, with the online tool to facilitate publication of the remaining 85%.

The first edition of the expanded industry-level Quarterly General Insurance Performance Statistics will be published on Thursday.

Institution-level statistics will be released in May, while a new General Insurance Claims Development Statistics report will come out later in the year.