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

Finally, a new European mutual sees the light

14 September 2022

Years ago, in 2013, when the Commission consulted on its Green Paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters, I pointed already to the potential creation of mutual insurers as part of a solution: “One important way to guarantee availability and coverage is the diversity and resilience of the insurance sector. Consumers insured by an insurance sector uniquely composed of large groups moving capital and business to where the best ROE is to be found may be at risk if returns are not at the desired level. Can it be argued that insurers which do not have an ROE as corporate finality could be a welcome buffer between the return-focused insurance market on the one hand and the government as solution of last resort on the other hand, at the cross-road between long term solidarity and short-term market demanded profit?“ The discussions on catnat have come even more to the forefront since then, joined by other and increasing protection gaps. In the area of cyberinsurance, for example, the industry has been crying for capacity. Time to dust off the image of mutual insurance? 

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Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Preserving the full meaning of the O in the ORSA

24 August 2022

EIOPA has recently on its website published a new application guidance on climate change materiality assessments and climate change scenarios in the ORSA. According to EIOPA, this latest application guidance of 2 August provides a detailed and practical basis on how to implement sustainable finance ambitions in practice. It gives insights into where undertakings have the possibility to address climate change risks in ORSA and provides examples using mock non-life and life undertakings, including concrete case studies to help insurers design the steps for the materiality assessment and to run climate change scenarios. By doing so, EIOPA intends to help lower implementation costs for insurers, in particular small and mid-sized ones, taking into account the size, nature and complexity of climate change risk exposures. Given that the (re)insurance industry will be impacted by climate change-related physical and transition risks, EIOPA believes it is important to encourage a forward-looking management of these risks to ensure the solvency and viability of the industry. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The Solvency II review – Cooperation platforms and low risk undertakings and groups (Part 2)

20 July 2022
Knowledge Base

Following changes in 2019 in the Solvency II directive, EIOPA has the power to set up and coordinate collaboration platforms to enhance collaboration between the relevant supervisory authorities where a (re)insurance undertaking carries out, or intends to carry out, cross-border activities based on the freedom to provide services or the freedom of establishment. For these platforms, the criterium is not significant cross-border activity from the point of view of the home supervisor, but relevance to the host Member State market. Around ten of these platforms have been set up since then. However, in several cases, according to the European Commission, supervisors have failed to reach a common view on how to address issues related to such cross-border business. Hence, the European Commission proposes to further enhance EIOPA’s role: the home supervisor must inform EIOPA and the relevant host supervisors if it identifies deteriorating financial conditions or other emerging risks which may have a cross-border effect. The host supervisor may notify EIOPA and the home supervisor if it has serious consumer protection concerns. The idea is to find a bilateral solution between home and host supervisors while EIOPA stands ready on the side Will that work? This is part two of Lieve Lowet’s latest blog on Solvency II (see related items for part 1). Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The Solvency II review – How to safeguard the internal market in insurance? (Part 1)

18 July 2022
Knowledge Base

Since the introduction of Solvency II, there have been very few failures in the insurance sector. Because some failures had cross-border consequences, there has been pressure to change the present regulatory regime in order to give more powers to host supervisors and to EIOPA. Although the functioning of the internal market in insurance can certainly be improved, care must be taken not to overload the barge and to respect the approach that was agreed in the nineties for all financial service operators, i.e. a single market with a single license (European passport) and home country control. Failures are in a way a proof that market mechanisms are working. But in the financial services area, failures are more undesirable than in the rest of the services sector, especially in a cross-border context exercised via the freedom of establishment or the freedom to provide services (FPS). Despite the fact that Solvency II was not conceived as a zero-failure regime and that few failures have occurred in practice, the European Commission, pushed by EIOPA, is proposing important amendments to the present regime for insurers that operate cross-border, justified by supervisory shortcomings and a varying degree of policyholder protection across the EU following these failures. This is part one of Lieve Lowet’s latest blog posts on Solvency II. Part 2 will be published this Wednesday. Continue reading…

ESG and Intergenerational Equity – Mind the Gap (Part II)

25 May 2022
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet & Lorenz Van Roosbroeck

In our March blog post we wrote about the Australian Actuaries Intergenerational Equity Index (AAIEI) for two main reasons. First of all, the index emphasises the issue of social sustainability — which, at present, tends to be overshadowed by the issue of environmental sustainability. Secondly, the AAIEI successfully reads environmental sustainability as something related to social sustainability. This was welcomed because of its break with the dominant deliberative culture surrounding ESG, where discussions deal with environmental -and social issues in isolation of one another, effectively masking their interrelation. This blogpost delves deeper into both matters from a more theoretical angle. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The intra-European cross-border insurance market: some insights

29 April 2022

Recently, EIOPA published its 2021 Annual Insurance Overview together with updated statistics. The statistics included for the first time for the EEA “Cross-border premiums” allowing for insights on the cross-border activity of insurers both regarding life and non-life insurance business on a freedom of services (FOS) or on a branch basis. We analyzed these cross-border insurance data especially in the context of the current Solvency II review, as Solvency II is a Single Market directive. The establishment of the Single Market for insurance allowing unimpeded cross-border sales and establishment did not come about easily. It started for direct insurance with the adoption of the first non-life insurance directive 73/239/EEC, applied on 27 January 1976. The first life insurance Directive, 78/473/EEC, was applicable as of 2 June 1980. These timid steps were further completed, among others, with the third non-life Directive 92/49/EEC and the third life directive 92/96/EEC applicable as of 1 July 1994. Since then, nearly 20 years passed by. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Risk dashboards novelties: ESG ratings of (some) insurers at a medium level

04 March 2022
Knowledge Base

Since years, EIOPA’s quarterly risk dashboard evaluates the different risks of the insurance sector: credit risk, market risk, underwriting risk,…These dashboards, EIOPA writes, are based on financial stability and prudential reporting data (i.e. Solvency II quarterly (QRS) and annual reporting data (ARS)). According to the most recent dashboard, these are collected from 95 insurance groups and 2190 solo insurance undertakings. Recently, EIOPA added two new risk categories to its dashboard: ESG related risks (October 2021) and Digitalisation and cyber risks (January 2022). Given that the EU’s framework to evaluate ESG risks itself is under construction, and that reporting and disclosure obligations of ESG risks are not yet 100% in place, nor are they part of the SII reporting obligations, did EIOPA find the hidden data gem in its data vaults? What interested me was the methodology, source, definition and sample size used by EIOPA especially regarding the ESG related risks? Curious about this new category in the risk dashboard, I searched for more insights.

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Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The curious case of EIOPA’s Supervisory Handbook

24 January 2022
Knowledge Base

In October 2021, EIOPA finally published some elements of its 2018 Supervisory handbook first mentioned in 2012, a year after EIOPA’s foundation, now more than 10 years ago. Works started in 2013. The intent of the Supervisory Handbook, it said in 2016, is to establish common supervisory practices that promote convergence and optimal supervision outcomes while allowing for market specificities. EIOPA’s work on the Supervisory Handbook, it continued, is a means to fulfil Article 29 of its mandate to strive for a common supervisory culture.  It is my understanding that the inspiration for the Supervisory Handbook was birthed as a result of needs arising from the national supervisory authorities in the run up to the implementation of Solvency II. In 2013, EIOPA as a start brought together its Colleges Team to define the best supervisory practices to be included in the Supervisory Handbook. In 2020, the obligation to develop and maintain a ‘Union supervisory handbook’ became part of the different ESA Regulations (new Article 29,2) on which EIOPA was a precursor. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Asking questions to the ESAs – When is the Commission involved?

01 December 2021
Knowledge Base

Some time ago, the European Commission published a Decision on the adoption of the answers to be provided to questions submitted to the European Supervisory Authorities under Article 16b (5) of the EIOPA Regulation, the EBA Regulation and the ESMA Regulation in the period from 1 January 2021 to 30 January 2021. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

The 2021 Solvency II review: A multilayered exercise

01 November 2021

On 22 September 2021, the European Commission proposed a selected number of amendments to the Solvency II framework directive, called “Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/138/EC as regards proportionality, quality of supervision, reporting, long-term guarantee measures, macro-prudential tools, sustainability risks, group and cross-border supervision”. But as the Solvency II directive foresees in level 2 measures, and occasionally level 3 measures, more (regulatory) changes are to be expected. The review will therefore be a multilayered exercise. Continue reading…