By Daniel Hunter

Companies and pension scheme trustees looking to remove pension liabilities from their balance sheet can now test the viability of buyout/buy-in deals directly with all of the insurers in the market via a single platform.

Companies and trustees are now able to invite any of the insurers operating in the pensions buyout market to use the Skyval Insure platform, meaning that they can receive initial pricing quotations from the whole of the market in days rather than months. The shared access for insurers and pension schemes makes it more accurate and useful than other approaches, which rely on indirect information about insurers’ pricing.

Companies and trustees who have already used Skyval Insure have had initial pricing back from insurers as quickly as four days, compared to the usual six to eight weeks. These prices have been achieved without releasing any sensitive membership data to third parties — Skyval Insure uniquely allows insurers to have confidential access to a bespoke model of the scheme’s pension liabilities via the Skyval platform.

Raj Mody, head of PwC pensions consulting and Skyval, said:

“This is a great development for everyone involved in the pensions buyout/buy-in market. Pension schemes can test the market quickly, cost-effectively and securely to understand whether a deal is viable, insurers can focus their resources on deals that are more likely to proceed, trustees have more control of the process and members end up with better outcomes.

“There is currently nearly £2 trillion of pension liabilities weighing on sponsoring companies’ balance sheets. We expect Skyval Insure to be a real catalyst for change in the pensions buyout industry and accelerate the transfer rate of pension liabilities off UK plc balance sheets to the insurance market.”

Jerome Melcer, head of Skyval development, added:

“Skyval Insure gives pension schemes quick and efficient access to all insurers currently active in this market and has already been deployed on several live cases. With more insurers looking to enter this market in 2015, the spotlight will be on how pension schemes get the best out of an increasingly competitive process that has suffered from limited price visibility. This is where the shared platform concept of Skyval Insure can add value, helping to identify the right deal, with the right insurer.”

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