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).

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…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Le Brexit Nouveau est arrivé

25 January 2021
Knowledge Base

On Christmas Eve 2020, the EU and the UK agreed on the long debated Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It goes beyond a free trade agreement. It has been provisionally applicable since 1 January 2021. It is a horizontal agreement, 400 plus pages, with more than 1000 pages of annexes. The provisional application will cease upon ratification or on 28 February 2021. The negotiated text of the TCA, published in the Official Journal of 31 December 2020, has not yet been subject to final legal-linguistic revision. The authentic and definitive texts resulting from such revision will replace ab initio, the signed versions of the TCA. These authentic and definitive texts of the TCA will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in due time by 30 April 2021. But in the meantime, there it is! Le Brexit Nouveau est arrivé. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Solvency II with crème anglaise: More sweat?

29 November 2020

While the EU’s Solvency II (SII) review pursuits its course in the Union, the UK Treasury also pulled the starting gun for its own, and now separate, review. On 19 October 2020, HM Treasury published a call for evidence in its follow-up announcement from June. This call for evidence is the first stage in the British review of SII. HM Treasury explains that this call for evidence is a targeted review of the regulatory approach taken under key aspects of the UK’s SII regime. But a broader review will also take place. Separately, it continues, “the Government is conducting a long-term review – the Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) Review – to determine how the overall framework for financial services regulation will need to adapt to the UK’s position outside the EU. The FRF Review will examine the allocation of regulatory responsibilities between Parliament, HM Treasury and the financial services regulators.” Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Forewarned is forearmed – the European Commission consults on sustainable corporate governance to foster long-term sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour

27 October 2020
Knowledge Base

The consultation launched on 26 October 2020 by the European Commission asks how the EU can best go about helping businesses in the way they operate, towards a transformation to a more sustainable economy and to ensure that environmental and social interests are embedded in business strategies. The European Commission communicated in December 2019 its Green Deal action plan. One of its ambitions is to mainstream sustainability in all EU policies. Because it considers the private sector as key to financing the transition, it set out a number of actions: one is to strengthen the foundation for sustainable investment. This means also to further embed sustainability into the corporate governance framework, “as many companies still focus too much on short-term financial performance compared to their long-term development and sustainability aspects”. Other actions are the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive and supporting “businesses and other stakeholders in developing standardised natural capital accounting practices within the EU and internationally.”  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…

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…