NAIC selects Blackrock Solutions to model CMBS
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has selected Blackrock Solutions to assist state regulators as they determine risk-based capital (RBC) requirements for the commercial mortgage- backed securities (CMBS) held by insurers. As the third-party financial modeler, Blackrock Solutions will assist in the assessment of more than 7,000 CMBS holdings by U.S. insurance companies at the end of 2010, measured in terms of unique Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (CUSIPs). Blackrock Solutions will coordinate with the NAIC to develop expected losses for each CMBS CUSIP, allowing insurance companies to map their CMBS holdings to the appropriate RBC designation and accompanying solvency requirements. The selection of Blackrock Solutions followed a review of 16 bids received by the NAIC in response to RFP #1403: Assessment of Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities, posted on the NAIC website July 28, 2010. The review was conducted by NAIC staff and independent financial consulting firm Oliver Wyman using a process similar to last year's efforts that resulted in the selection of PIMCO as the third-party vendor chosen to assist in the RBC modeling of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). The NAIC employed the same selection criteria used for that process to select a financial modeler for CMBS: 1) sound methodology, 2) ability to process a significant amount of data, 3) policies and procedures in place to address potential conflicts of interest, and 4) a cost-effective price. "The RMBS assessment process was a very important and successful step in our analysis of expected losses and related risk-based capital requirements for the insurance industry in 2009," said Jane L. Cline, NAIC president and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner. "Expanding this examination to CMBS holdings further enhances our analysis for another 43 percent of the structured securities owned by the insurance industry. These assessments continue to distinguish and supplement the stringent capital requirements of NAIC and state insurance regulators, which are based upon the expected losses and RBC for a particular company." Blackrock Solutions will coordinate with insurance regulators to develop a set of price ranges for NAIC designations one through six. These will apply to year-end 2010 statutory financial statements and will determine the RBC charges for each applicable security. With respect to RMBS designations for year-end 2010, the NAIC will continue its highly successful relationship with PIMCO. The NAIC was pleased with last year's results and believes consistency of process is important as additional classes of structured securities are modeled. "We were very pleased with the results of the RMBS assessment and PIMCO's work in 2009 and look forward to benefiting from their continuing efforts this year," said Cline. "We anticipate similar success with the CMBS assessment with the support and expertise we expect to receive from Blackrock Solutions." The NAIC will next concentrate on the development of macro-economic assumptions with which Blackrock Solutions and PIMCO develop their models. The NAIC will schedule public meetings to discuss these assumptions and other issues important to the designation process. For more information, visit www.naic.org.