EU amends Solvency II guidelines

THE EU clarified the powers of its new insurance and markets “super-regulators” in proposals published yesterday.

The commission is to change two existing financial services directives to clear the way for the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority.

The amendments, set out in its Omnibus II proposals, identify areas where the regulators can propose new technical standards as they move towards the “single rule book” model of pan-EU regulation. It also details how to resolve disputes between member states’ national regulators.

“By giving the new supervisors a clearly defined mandate and bringing existing legislation in line with that mandate, the commission further delivers on the promise of creating more solid and stable markets and mitigating future crises,” said markets commissioner Michel Barnier.

It has also amended the Solvency II directive that will set new capital requirements and internal models for European insurers from 2012.

For the first time, it has set a final date of 31 December 2012 for companies to implement the new directive – but in recognition of the challenge facing insurers, it has set transitional arrangements to help them adapt.

“There should be a smooth transition to the new regime, market disruption should be avoided,” it said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers insurance partner Charles Garnsworthy said it was “unrealistic” to expect almost 3,600 insurers to be fully compliant by the deadline.

“The introduction of these transitional measures will allow insurers and regulators time to fully comply with the directive,” Garnsworthy said.