Latest Solvency II updates in the Irish Insurance market.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has launched a public consultation on guidelines for the preparation of Solvency II, to apply from 1 January 2014.
The guidelines include systems of governance, the risk management system and own risk and solvency assessment (ORSA), pre-application of internal models and reporting to supervisors.
The four consultation papers are available on the EIOPA consultation site. The consultation period is open until 19 June 2013.
Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) hosted, on 24 May 2013, an industry briefing on the draft Guidelines on preparing for Solvency II. The briefing provided representatives with further detail regarding EIOPA’s recently published consultation and outlined CBI’s proposed approach to implementing the Guidelines in Ireland.
The Central Bank Issued in May its quarterly publication, Solvency II Matters. The newsletter provides updates on the Guidelines on Preparing for Solvency II, the industry briefing, Long Term Guarantee Assessment, Omnibus II and other EIOPA consultations.
EIOPA has asked for feedback on the design of the standard formula and calibration of long-term investments under Solvency II.
EIOPA published a discussion paper after the European Commission asked it to examine if the calibration and design of regulatory capital requirements, for insurers' long-term investments, in certain asset classes under Solvency II, necessitates any adjustment or reduction under the current economic conditions without jeopardising the prudential nature of the regime.
EIOPA has initially rejected calls for it to cut capital charges on insurance companies' infrastructure and private equity investments, which politicians are pushing as a way to boost long-term growth. The consultation period is open untilclosed on 28 May 2013.
The Commission has indicated the intention to come forward with a proposed Directive to improve the governance and transparency of occupational pension funds in the autumn of 2013. However, it is recognised that more comprehensive data and investigation is required in relation to the impact of the proposed solvency measures on pension schemes. This, coupled with the ongoing delays to Solvency II itself, has led to the Commission postponing the consideration of new solvency requirements for pension schemes.
The preliminary results for EIOPA’s Quantitative Impact Study (QIS) in relation to this initiative showed that the original solvency requirement proposals would have approximately doubled Ireland’s total current pension deficit.
The Central Bank of Ireland released their Solvency II newsletter on January 31, 2013. This newsletter indicated the Solvency II implementation date of January 1, 2014 will not be met. As suspected, the implementation delay is primarily due to delays in agreeing the Omnibus 2 directive and in particular provisions covering products providing long-term guarantees. The Central Bank of Ireland is working closely with EIOPA to achieve a consistent and convergent approach across the EU to Solvency II implementation.
The Central Bank refers to the recent EIOPA opinion that elements of Solvency II, primarily, but not limited to, Pillar 2 should be introduced by January 1, 2014. Further details of guidelines on interim measures will be provided by EIOPA later in the year. For more details on the timetable for the guidelines please refer to the CBI newsletter in the link below. A link to the EIOPA opinion is also provided.
Sergio Balbinot has warned of severe consequences for policyholders and Europe's economy if the new Solvency II regulatory regime for European insurers does not fully recognise that insurance is a long-term business. "Elements that appear to be technical details can in fact have an enormous impact," Balbinot told the EIOPA Conference in Frankfurt.
Some elements of Solvency II could be introduced between now and the new likely start date of the regulatory regime in 2016, Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), has said.
Speaking at EIOPA's second annual conference in Frankfurt, Bernardino reiterated that EIOPA believed a credible timetable will "probably point out to an implementation date not earlier than 2016".