Hopes raised for deal on Solvency II

City A.M. Reporter
THE EU is nearing a deal on long-delayed insurance rules that the bloc has touted as a regulatory benchmark for the world to follow, regulatory and policy officials have said.

The rules, known as Solvency II, will seek to improve the method for deciding how much capital an insurer must hold as a safety buffer by better assessing risks and liabilities from customer policies.

A decade in the making and originally due to take effect in late 2012, the EU rules were delayed to apply lessons from the financial crisis. They hit a second speed bump when insurers in Germany, France and Britain called for more leniency over how much capital should be set aside for products offering guaranteed returns.

“There is a deal on the table to be done,” Peter Skinner, a British Labour MEP said yesterday.

“More has been understood about long-term guarantees so that a far more practical approach can therefore be implemented,” said Skinner, one of a team of lawmakers negotiating the deal with EU member states. He declined to say when the new rules would start, although regulators have indicated 2016 as a possibility. Some elements could be phased in, such as those covering German products.