Consistent implementation of Solvency II across the EU is the only guarantee that European insurance buyers will benefit from a new level playing field to optimise the protection of their organisation.
Because regulators have now a key role in the local enforcement of Solvency II, this is where our attention should be in 2016. The interpretation and local adjustment will play a fundamental part in how Solvency II will be perceived by the sector.
Since 1 January 2016, the rules set by the Solvency II Directive have been officially the new regulatory regime for the insurance industry in the European Union. The Directive has been transposed and implemented into the national laws of the 28 EU member states. From the adoption of the Directive in 2009 until the latest amendments in 2014, it is now up the national regulators to apply and enforce the new rules.
Solvency II also came in 2014 with a detailed text called a delegated act which specifies with further details how the national authorities will have to understand and effectively put into place the capital, governance and reporting requirements.
It remains to be seen how the local regulatory authorities will handle the additional workload. The new reporting rules and the documentation will require a lot of resources to be assessed and used properly. This is the necessary condition to turn the new regime into a really meaningful exercise and grasp the full potential of Solvency II.
The newly needed resources, however, are likely to increase the fees that most supervisors impose on insurers. With its privileged position and access to all EU local insurance supervisors, the European insurance and pensions authority, EIOPA, will have to monitor closely the impact of Solvency II in terms of the regulation costs for the whole industry.
EIOPA also announced that the principle of proportionality set forth by the Directive will be scrutinised to monitor how local regulators have translated and defined what is a captive and how the principle of proportionality should be applied to the eligible entity (Keynote speech of Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA, “Implementation of Solvency II: The dos and the don’ts” – International conference “Solvency II: What Can Go Wrong?”, Ljubljana, 2 September 2015).