Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet, EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist since 2003, focuses on European dossiers relevant for the insurance and pension sector. From 2003 to 2008, she was Secretary-General for the international mutual insurance association AISAM (now AMICE), which accounted for 15% of the European and 6% of the world insurance market. Prior, she worked for McKinsey as a European banking and insurance expert. She holds a Master of Arts in International Studies degree (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, a degree in Law and a B.A. in Philosophy, both from the KUL University of Leuven (Belgium).
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…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

What‘s in a name? Who knows the difference between EIOPA’s supervisory statements and statements?

19 August 2020

EIOPA has recently issued several statements. For the attentive reader, there is a difference when such a statement is called a supervisory statement or simply a statement. Surprised? So, what’s in a name? Let us first focus on Supervisory Statements. EIOPA issued in 2017 its first Supervisory Statement. EIOPA defines on its website today Supervisory Statements as follows: “Supervisory Statements often aim to present finding on current practices observed and indicate areas for improvement. The statements are directed to National Supervisory Authorities (NSAs) as well as insurance and reinsurance undertakings.” Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The 2020 Solvency II review: The Commission consults but a lot of water will still flow under the bridge

29 July 2020

The Commission has started its public consultation on the review of the Solvency II framework directive (SII FD). The consultation period will run till 21 October 2020. Apart from the SII FD, the scope of the review may extend to the SII Delegated and Implementing Regulations as appropriate. Normally, would it not have been for the pandemic crisis, EIOPA would already have delivered its technical advice requested by the Commission as the due date for that advice was 30 June 2020 (see formal request for technical advice sent to EIOPA 11 February 2019). However, on 8 May 2020, EIOPA, in close coordination with the European Commission, decided to delay its advice and holistic impact assessment to deliver it at end December 2020. This will allow EIOPA to take into account the importance of assessing the impact of the current Covid-19 situation on the SII Review. But this also moves the calendar with 6 months. The Commission is also concurrently consulting on its Inception Impact Assessment. The roadmap is open for feedback for 8 weeks and runs till 26 August 2020. The Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can’t be taken up. In that roadmap, the Commission foresees a new legislative proposal by Q3 2021.  Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The Solvency II review, Brexit, equivalence and calibrations

03 July 2020

On 23 June 2020, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a written statement in which he announced plans on the update of prudential requirements in several areas of the financial sector. Regarding Solvency II, the Chancellor made it clear that the UK will review certain features of the regime. Rishi Sunak mentioned the risk margin, the matching adjustment, the operation of internal models and the reporting requirement for insurers. The statement added that this list was not limited. It should be noted that, after all, Solvency II was very much inspired by the UK’s prudential regime. The list of the items the European Commission plans to consider in its first major Solvency II review exercise is much longer and overlaps gently with the hitherto limited list of the British Chancellor, eager “to take back control of the rules governing our world-leading financial services sector”. In a recent webinar, Didier Millerot, head of the Insurance and Pensions Unit of the European Commission mentioned as areas: the risk margin, the long term guarantee measures – the reason why the 2020 review after all was planned in the Omnibus II amendments of 2014 – and proportionality. But he also mentioned many other points such as the recovery and resolution process, a minimum level of national insurance guarantee schemes’ harmonisation, cross-border supervisory quality and supervisory cooperation – important in a cross-border freedom of services situation for the reputation of the Single Market -, green assets and the contribution of the insurance sector to the new sustainable economy. Nobody can be jealous of such a long list of items on which the Commission will have to ponder carefully whether to propose amendments and how.  Continue reading…

Covid-19 and Solvency II – No time to lose

01 June 2020

by Lieve Lowet

This is the last part of a series of three articles about my investigation into Covid-19 and Solvency II. We have already published two interesting blogs, which can be found in the related items section. The first part was about buying time and data and the second part was about the Covid-19 pandemic risk. In the light of the Solvency II review, one question is whether pandemic risk is adequately dealt with in the solvency capital requirements. Are the calibrations and parameters in the life and health underwriting risk submodules for catastrophic risk still in line with the (new) insights and observations of a worldwide pandemic, such as COVID-19? And if not, is an adaptation necessary? Are additional parameters required?   Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Covid-19 and Solvency II: Where is the pandemic risk?

29 May 2020

by Lieve Lowet

This is the second part in a series of three articles written by me, which focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic risk. Today, examining the Solvency II framework, pandemic risk is a submodule considered in the health catastrophe risk module, consisting of a mass accident risk submodule, an accident concentration risk submodule, the latter including worker’s compensation insurance, and a pandemic risk submodule (Art 160-163, DEA). According to Article 163 of the Solvency II delegated regulation, the pandemic risk submodule covers the medical expense pandemic exposure and the income protection pandemic exposure but not workers compensation insurance. Annex XVI includes the different factors to be used in that module, such as the ratio of insured persons with clinical symptoms, which are hospitalised (1%), consult a medical practitioner (20%) or seek no formal medical care (79%).  Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Covid-19 and Solvency II: Buying time and buying data…

28 May 2020

by Lieve Lowet

This blog is the first of a series of three articles written by me concerning the Covid-19 pandemic and Solvency II. The articles will be published on three consecutive days. As could have been expected, once the first implications of the Covid-19 pandemic started to unfold, EIOPA informed the European Commission that it would not deliver its expected advice and its holistic impact assessment on the combined impact of the draft advice for the review of Solvency II by the end of June 2020, but rather by the end of December 2020, six months later than planned. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

In times of crises, you know your friends…

30 March 2020

When EIOPA last week issued its statement on the COVID-19 situation and the insurance sector, it suggested national authorities to be flexible not only regarding the upcoming supervisory reporting deadlines, but also drew attention to dividend and distribution policies. On 20 March, recommendations followed on Supervisory flexibility regarding the deadline of supervisory reporting and public disclosure – coronavirus/COVID-19. Normally the annual supervisory reports referring to year-end 2019 should have been filed by early April 2020, but will now receive an 8 weeks delay till 2 June 2020. While this is true for the Regular Supervisory Report, it is not the case for certain important quantitative reporting templates where only a 2 weeks delay is recommended. Continue reading…