Solvency II decision expected in autumn
Bermuda must wait a few more weeks to find out whether its insurance regulation will be deemed equivalent to the new standards being introduced in the European Union.
Legislative changes passed by the Senate last week addressed the recommendations of EU bureacrats on what had still to be done for “third-country equivalence” with Solvency II in a report six months ago.
The amendments, under The Insurance Amendment (No 2) Act 2015, which include the definition of the requirement for a commercial insurer to have a head office in Bermuda and legal authority for new public disclosure requirements for commercial insurers, will now be reviewed by the EU body that deals with insurance matters.
Achieving equivalent status with the enhanced EU regulations will mean that Bermuda international insurers doing business in the EU will not be competitively disadvantaged. The drive towards equivalence that has been led by financial regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority is supported by major industry groups.
Seamus MacLoughlin, speaking for the Bermuda International Long-Term Insurance and Reinsurance Association (BILTIR), said: “With last week’s action on a package of substantive and technical amendments Bermuda has completed the legislative and regulatory action that positions Bermuda to meet the caveats on the equivalence assessment as published January 30 by European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA).
“These legislative changes are now being reviewed by EIOPA at the request of the Commission. The Commission will make its final recommendation in the fall.”
Bradley Kading, of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR), explained why equivalence was worth pursuing.
“Equivalence findings of third countries help promote transparent and comprehensive regulation of non-EU groups with European Union (EU) business operations and encourage cross border reinsurance trade which promotes greater competition and value for EU consumers in insurance markets,” Mr Kading, ABIR’s executive director, said.
“ABIR members are strong supporters of the BMA’s efforts to be found fully equivalent under Solvency 2, but the real beneficiaries are EU commercial consumers which will benefit from open insurance markets.”
Robert Paton, of the Bermuda Insurance Management Association (BIMA), said: “Jeremy Cox and the BMA team are to be commended for timely adoption of the final economic balance sheet regulations and public disclosure legal mandate, as these were considered to be key elements of Solvency II equivalence,” said Robert Paton on behalf of BIMA.
The legislative amendments also amended the existing economic balance sheet rules to expand the framework to life/long term insurers, made technical amendments to the Bermuda Solvency Capital Requirement formula and spelled out financial condition public disclosure requirements.
Bermuda’s equivalence application covers the commercial insurance market, both life-health and property-casualty. Based on the definition of “commercial” it excludes most captive insurers.
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