Statutory Reserve

Updated on April 11, 2024
Article byAbhilash Ramachandran
Edited byAbhilash Ramachandran
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is Statutory Reserve?

Statutory Reserve is the amount of money, securities, or assets that need to be set aside as a legal requirement by insurance companies and financial institutions to cover claims or obligations due shortly. It is a mandatory reserve since the Government does not want to take chances if an insurance company fails to make payments for the insured peril.

It is a legal reserve that must be maintained by the standards set by the regulating body for the sector, which may vary from country to country. The primary aim of maintaining a statutory reserve is for the organization to meet its obligations promised to its customers even if it is running into losses.

Statutory-Reserve

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Types of Statutory Reserve

The statutory reserve that needs to be maintained is calculated either by a rule-based approach or a principle-based approach.

#1 – Rule-Based Approach

  • The rule-based approach focuses on the amount required to be maintained as a reserve based on standardized formulas and assumptions.
  • Calculation of statutory reserve depends on various factors as set out in the static formula, which may not necessarily capture the risk involved.
  • The rule-based approach is stringent and does not allow any levy on the organization. This amount is set out after the organization’s calculation needs to be mandatorily maintained.

#2 – Principle-Based Approach

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Statutory Reserve Examples

  1. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) plans to implement the principle-based approach for calculating statutory reserves in the US, where the rule-based approach is used to calculate statutory reserves.
  2. The Commissioners Reserve Valuation Method (CRVM) is the most commonly used method to calculate the statutory reserves in the Life insurance industry. It is the method prescribed by law for computing the statutory reserve which every insurance company has to adhere to, failing which the insurance company might attract legal actions and penalties.
  3. The size of a CRVM reserve, as with most life reserves, is affected by the age and sex of the insured person, the number of years the insurance has been computed, the plan of insurance offered by the policy, the rate of interest that has been used in the calculation and the mortality table with which the actuarial present values are computed.
  4. The Commissioner’s Reserve Valuation Method was established by the Standard Valuation Law (SVL), which was created by the NAIC and adopted by the different States shortly after World War 2. The first mortality table prescribed by the SVL in 1941 was the commissioner’s standard ordinary table.
  5. The maximum interest rate was 3.50%. Subsequent amendments to the SVL have permitted the use of more modern mortality tables and higher rates of interest. The effects of these changes have, in general, resulted in the reduction of the amount maintained in reserves.

Advantages

  • The primary advantage of maintaining a statutory reserve is that it enables one to make payments for the obligations or claims due shortly, even if the business is not making any profits.
  • It acts as a boosting indicator for the investors. An organization with a well-maintained statutory reserve depicts that the organization is doing well in business and the process and gives confidence that the organization will continue to do the same, which lures more and more investors.
  • It gives the customers confidence to invest in the products offered by the organization since they can rest assured that the payment they make will be recovered from the statutory reserve if an unforeseen event occurs

Disadvantages

  • Maintaining statutory reserves requires conscious efforts by the organization, which results in a shift of focus from profit-making to maintaining reserves to avoid legal penalties and actions.
  • This results in reduced profit since the reserve has to be maintained even if the business is not performing well.
  • It requires organizations to bifurcate between the assets it owns, which requires a lot of documentation and related costs.

Important Points

Conclusion

  • It is a mandatory reserve as advised by the governing body for the sector, which must meet the organization’s obligations or claims to the customers if the organization is at a loss.
  • A governing or regulating body decides and communicates the amount of statutory reserve that an organization must maintain.
  • This amount varies from sector to sector and is usually a percentage of the outstanding obligations.
  • An organization needs to be licensed by the State and the rules set by the same, which includes maintaining the statutory reserve.
  • It is the need to be maintained for various products, including property insurance, life insurance, and health insurance, to name a few.
  • All the businesses in the insurance industry are required to maintain the statutory reserve.

This article has guided what statutory reserve is, and its Meaning. Here we discuss the statutory reserve types and examples, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about accounting from the following articles –