Insurance Regulator Calls for Partial Solvency II by 2014

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority said it will issue interim guidelines for national regulators and called for partial implementation of its planned European capital rules by 2014.

“Eiopa’s guidelines will ensure that important aspects of the new regime will be gradually implemented,” Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Union agency in charge of drafting the so-called Solvency II risk-based capital rules, said in an e-mailed statement today. “This interim phase will allow supervisors and undertakings to be better prepared for the application of the new regulatory framework.”

Lobbying by German, British and French insurers over the rules’ impact on long-term savings products has already delayed the introduction of Solvency II. The regulations, designed to make firms across the region allocate the same capital reserves against the risks they take, may not come into force before 2016, industry executives said in third-quarter earnings presentations.

“If the political decisions will not be taken next year, the 2016 deadline might be in question,” Bernardino said at a press conference in Frankfurt today. “The earliest we can do Solvency II is 2016, as there are lots of milestones to be taken until then.”

Lack of certainty about the start of Solvency II rules is challenging the EU’s credibility in international talks as regulators in Germany and the Netherlands weigh whether to introduce parts of the rules themselves, jeopardizing attempts to create a level playing field. Solvency II is being developed by the European Commission, Eiopa and national regulators.

“The guidelines are for regulators, but they are meant to implement them in their countries,” Bernardino said. “We don’t want to implement burden on the industry. These guidelines should be positive.”

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