U.K. Stiffens Rules to Hold Insurers Accountable for Failure

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U.K. insurers face tougher conduct rules as the Financial Conduct Authority makes it easier to hold individuals at financial firms to account for failures on their watch.

The FCA issued final rules on Thursday amending its accountability framework for firms covered by the European Union insurance law known as Solvency II. Unlike similar rules proposed for U.K. bankers, the insurance standards don’t contain criminal sanctions or reverse the burden of proof in cases of misconduct.

The rules are part of a suite of measures to tie the pay and personal reputations of senior managers at financial companies to the fates of their firms.

“These changes are an important part of our overall drive to raise standards of individual conduct across the financial services industry,” the FCA said in the paper published on its website.

Under Solvency II, insurance and reinsurance companies must ensure that “all persons who effectively run the undertaking or have other key functions are at all times fit and proper.” This assessment covers professional qualifications, knowledge and experience as well as honesty and financial soundness.

The PRA’s rules that implement Solvency II require insurers to have a “governance map” in place by Jan. 1 that sets out who carries out key functions as well as the responsibilities and reporting lines for each senior manager. They must also submit a grandfathering notification by Feb. 8 of next year.

Chief executive, financial and risk officers, heads of internal audit and others who perform a so-called controlled function must be pre-approved by the PRA.

“Having the final rules for the approved persons regime under Solvency II will help firms as they move toward the implementation of the regulations,” said a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers. “We are working hard with our members and the PRA and FCA to ensure a smooth transition.”

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