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Commission Proposes Directive on Reinsurance

In April, 2004 the European Commission presented its proposal for a directive on reinsurance, which is intended to provide a framework for cross-border operations of reinsurance undertakings on the basis of supervision by home state competent authorities. The supervisory function must be exercised in line with provisions which will be applicable to all Member States.

The proposal is a "fast track" solution for reinsurance pending proposals covering the insurance industry as a whole under the long-term "Solvency II" project (which is a wide ranging review of solvency in the insurance sector based on the approach taken under Basel II).

The key features of the proposed directive are:

(a) A single passport for reinsurers and a one-stop licensing system.
(b) Prudential rules set out in the proposed Directive include:

  • amount(s) to be set aside by reinsurer in order to enable it to meet its contractual commitments,
  • rules for investing such amount(s),
  • minimum capital and solvency requirements,
  • rules on measures to be adopted by regulators if re-insurers are in financial difficulties.

(c) International aspects - the proposed Directive is in line with the ongoing reinsurance supervision project being carried out by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) of which all Member States and the European Commission are members;
(d) Consultation and impact assessment - the consultation process showed that there is a need for rapid action in order to set up a regulatory regime for reinsurance as soon as possible without waiting for proposals under the long-term project "Solvency II". The proposal has also undergone an extended impact assessment.

The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council under the co-decision procedure.

For further information, please contact any member of our Financial Services Team.

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