Asian insurers hedge away solvency fears

The wild equity and bond market price swings in 2008 and early 2009 left the solvency ratios of many insurance companies in the Asia-Pacific region in tatters, as asset portfolios devalued and low interest rates made liabilities expensive. Regulators in some jurisdictions began to ask for weekly reports on solvency positions and, as capital positions looked precarious, the threat of government takeovers loomed (as happened to two small Taiwanese insurers, Walsun Insurance and Kuo Hua Life Ins