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Successful first year of monitoring of the global Insurance Capital Standard (ICS) on route to adoption in 2024

17 March 2021
Knowledge Base

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) has completed the first year of monitoring for the Insurance Capital Standard (ICS). The ICS aims to provide a globally comparable risk-based measure of capital adequacy of International Active Insurance Groups (IAIGs) and a common language to facilitate effective supervisory discussions of group solvency. The ultimate goal is a single ICS that includes a common methodology by which one ICS achieves comparable, ie substantially the same, outcomes across jurisdictions. The IAIS Executive Committee (ExCo) recently reviewed results from the 2020 ICS data collection and agreed to progress the 2021 ICS data collection with a small number of revisions to address issues that were identified through the data analysis and from the feedback received in the first year of the monitoring period. In June, the IAIS will publish the updated ICS specifications for the second year of the monitoring period. Continue reading…

The Opinion of EIOPA on the Solvency II review on Guidelines

24 February 2021
Knowledge Base

On 17 December 2020, EIOPA published its “Opinion on the 2020 review of Solvency II” together with an extensive Background analysis. In its Opinion, EIOPA formulates proposals to amend the L1 Solvency II framework directive (SII FD) as well as the L2 Solvency II Delegated Regulation. However, EIOPA also opines that certain clarifications can be given, not only via amending the SII FD or the Delegated Regulation, but also through additional guidance or the issuance of new EIOPA guidelines. In the meantime, the Commission and other stakeholders are reading and analysing EIOPA’s Opinion. I decided in this blog to focus on EIOPA’s suggested use of guidelines in the review. Continue reading…

Risk Dashboard: European insurers’ macro risk exposures decreased, while concerns remain

12 February 2021
Knowledge Base

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) recently published its Risk Dashboard based on the third quarter of 2020 Solvency II data. The results show that insurers’ exposures to macro risks decreased from very high to high level, while all other risk categories remain at medium level. Going forward, European supervisors expect an increase in credit, market and underwriting risks over the next 12 months, reflecting concerns over second lockdowns due to new waves of the pandemic as well as potential cliff effects once fiscal support measures will be over. With regards to macro risk, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecasts, amid upward revisions, show the strongest expected decline in the last quarter of 2020 and the first recovery in the second quarter of 2021. However, potential cliff effects have to be considered in the future. The registered unemployment rate remained at the very high level in September. The 10 year swap rates decreased reaching new lows. Fiscal balance deteriorated as a consequence of the supporting fiscal packages by governments. Continue reading…

Photo: Covid-19 and insurance, symbolized by viruses destroying word insurance to picture that coronavirus pandemic affects insurance in a very negative way, 3d illustration

IAIS reports on impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the global insurance sector

21 December 2020
Knowledge Base

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) recently published its 2020 Global Insurance Market Report (GIMAR). The report discusses the impact of Covid-19 on the global insurance sector from a supervisory perspective. High-level results indicate that despite the considerable volatility in financial markets during the first half of the year, the global insurance sector has remained both financially and operationally resilient, aided by supervisory measures providing operational relief and by monetary and fiscal support measures in financial markets in certain regions. Continue reading…

Supervisory statement on the Solvency II recognition of schemes based on reinsurance with regard to Covid-19 and credit insurance

10 October 2020

The risk of a rapid contraction of the credit insurance business following Covid-19 has led the European Commission to take similar initiatives as in the financial crisis in 2008. Firstly, on 19 March 2020 the European Commission adopted a “Temporary Framework for State aid measure to support the economy in the current Covid-19 outbreak” (Temporary Framework), which enables Member States to adopt temporary measures, including schemes to support export and trade in general. Measures taken under the Temporary Framework require individual approval from the European Commission. Secondly, on 28 March 2020 the European Commission published Communication C/2020/2044 that considers all commercial and political short term export as temporary non-marketable until 31 December 2020. This allowed state insurers to temporarily cover all short-term risks without requiring prior approval from the European Commission. The coverage provided following that Communication shall comply with a set of requirements that ensure that no advantage is passed on to exporters. Continue reading…

Photo: closeup of some piles of euro coins, against an off-white background, with a blank space on top

Coal, climate change and capital – Part III

02 October 2020
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet

This is the final part of a series of three articles about my investigation into coal, climate change and capital. Ending exposure to coal can benefit (re)insurers in three ways, Moody’s suggested in its 2020 report: they will less likely have to pay damages and legal fees for climate litigation targeting their clients, they can avoid troubled customers who may be tempted to cut corners on maintenance and they can protect themselves from the risk that their investments become “stranded”. Indeed, a lot of attention of (re)insurers and regulators has been going and is currently still going to the investment side (see for example (ironically) Lloyd’s in its 2017 Stranded Assets Report, part of its Emerging Risk series, and Europe’s sustainability package of May 2018).   Continue reading…

Coal, climate change and capital – Part II

25 September 2020
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet

This is the second part in a series of three articles written by me, which focuses on coal, climate change and capital. 

The recent findings of the Coal Policy Tool of Reclaim Finance reveal that indeed, as Sweeney said, managing climate-related risk remains a novel process for many. If insurers and reinsurers want to be part of the solution, more serious action is required beyond divestments and a few pioneers. If a sector is not insurable, it is not bankable. And if it is not bankable, most coal projects cannot be financed and built. The Indian Adani Group’s Carmichael Australian coal mine controversy is a warning. Whereas the European insurers and reinsurers are roughly and broadly speaking ahead of their American, Korean or Japanese counterpart across the five criteria Reclaim Finance examined in underwriting, and the best practice case is a large European insurer, there is still a lot of work to be done by insurers and reinsurers alike to reduce capacity meaningfully and to avoid the liability risk. Continue reading…

Coal, climate change and capital – Part I

23 September 2020
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet

This blog is the first of a series of three articles written by me about coal, climate change and capital. The articles will be published on three consecutive days. 

When I googled “how relevant is coal for climate change”, the first answer which popped up was “coal is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change. The burning of coal is responsible for 46% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide and accounts for 72% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the electricity sector.” Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with the 1.5°C reduction target as laid down in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. In that context, do insurers and reinsurers want to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Continue reading…

IAIS facilitates global coordination on financial stability and policyholder protection during Covid-19 crisis

22 May 2020
Knowledge Base

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a global public health emergency with severe human and economic consequences. Insurance is an essential service at this time of distress, providing protection against the heightened uncertainties created by the pandemic. For insurers to play this role, and to contribute to economic recovery, the stability of the sector is vital. To this end, the IAIS has been closely monitoring developments and actively coordinating with other standard-setting bodies and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the global insurance sector. The IAIS is also committed to supporting the FSB’s recently published principles for ensuring international cooperation and coordination of responses to Covid-19. Moreover, the IAIS is facilitating the sharing of information and discussion among its broad membership on supervisory responses to the impact of Covid-19. Continue reading…

The urge to act is strong. But normative integrity should be strong too

29 April 2020
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet

This is the last part of the series of three articles about my in-depth investigation of the aforementioned measures as a result of the corona crisis. All the above actions, mentioned in the two previous articles, we although, prima facie and probably well intended, carry nevertheless a very heavy price. I will focus on the insurance sector by naming five topics.
Continue reading…