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).
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…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The European Green Deal and the Review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive

24 February 2020
Knowledge Base

One of the 50 initiatives announced in the Commission’s Communication on the European Green Deal of 11 December 2019, is the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) (Directive 2014/95/EU) planned for Q4 2020. The NFRD requires large companies, including banks and insurers, to report information regarding the environment, social and employee issues, human rights, and bribery and corruption, on an annual basis. Companies have been required to include non-financial statements in their annual reports for the first time in 2018, for information covering the 2017 financial year. The NFRD covers approximately 6,000 large companies and groups across the EU. The NFRD amends the accounting directive 2013/34/EU. The NFRD should ensure that investors are better informed about the sustainability of their investments. It should also ensure that civil society and other interested parties have access to the information they need to hold companies to account for their impacts on society and the environment, avoiding an accountability deficit. At the same time the NFRD should not impose excessive reporting obligations on companies but encourage companies to develop a responsible approach to business. 

Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

New Competences for the European Banking, Insurance & Pension and Financial Market Authorities (ESAs)

29 January 2020
Knowledge Base

Last December, the European Union concluded the ESA review with the publication of the ESA review legislation in the Official Journal. It consists of 3 legislative acts:

Regulation (EU) 2019/2175 which amended the EBA regulation, the ESMA regulation, the EIOPA regulation, MIFIR, the benchmark regulation and the funds transfer regulation. The amendments focused on giving new competences as well as on clarifying existing competences. Most new powers of the ESA started on 1 January 2020. Regulation (EU) 2019/2176 which amended the ESRB regulation and which came into force on 30 December 2019; and Directive (EU) 2019/2177 : this Directive changes among others a few articles in the SII directive. The transposition date is 30 June 2021. This means that the new provisions related to SII are applicable as of 30/6/2021 except the country specific volatility adjustment adaptation which is applicable as of 1/7/2020.

This publication closes a long review. The new powers of EIOPA include for example the possibility to set up cooperation platforms in case of insurers which are active cross-border via branches and where there is a justified concern to worry about policyholder protection. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

EIOPA proposes further steps to close the European natural catastrophes protection gap

26 November 2019

In his inspired keynote speech at the opening of the 9th Annual EIOPA conference titled “Insurance and Pensions: leading the future”, Gabriel Bernardino, EIOPA’s chairman, called upon the sector to do right for the next generation and to show leadership. “No one should suffer because we are too complacent to act.” All have a powerful role in mitigating the impact of climate change and ensuring a gradual transition to a more sustainable and resilient economy. For insurers and pension funds, this is especially true in the area of asset management. In underwriting, insurers should consider the impact of their underwriting practices. Risk mitigation and loss prevention can make a significant difference, while maintaining the fundamental principles of sound risk-pricing. However, this is only relevant if there is protection being bought. There is an important European protection gap due to climate change in the area of natural catastrophes (NATCAT) with a considerable disparity in terms of insurance penetration, catastrophe exposure and disaster preparedness. The very large majority of EU Member States don’t even have a NATCAT scheme, and governments are budget tight. Will governments continue to play their role as insurer of last resort? Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

EIOPA consults extensively on the Solvency II review

28 October 2019

On 15 October 2019, EIOPA, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, published an extensive and long consultation paper (878 pages!) to prepare for the review of the Solvency II framework directive. Since 1 January 2016, about 2800 insurers and reinsurers in the EU apply Solvency II. The directive is up for a selective mandatory review by the Commission by 1 January 2021. Therefore, EIOPA must complete its technical advice in the form of an Opinion to the European Commission by 30 June 2020. The review of Solvency II directive is broad: the consultation covers 19 topics.  Continue reading…