Commissioner hails ‘long-standing link’ between US and UK markets

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) formally committing to work together on sharing critical information and coordinating regulatory duties about insurance issues.

The steps have been taken in the context of consumer protection in the United Kingdom and in the United States, a spokesman for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said.

“The longstanding link between Florida and the UK insurance market is one of the key facets of our marketplace,” said Commissioner McCarty. “In our increasingly volatile globalised market, a proactive approach to regulatory cooperation is critical for our responsibilities regarding the monitoring of financial solvency and general policyholder protection.”

The UK plays an important role in providing reinsurance capacity for Florida domestic insurers. Florida companies require in excess of $20 billion from private reinsurers, 18% of which comes from Lloyd’s of London. In July 2008, Commissioner McCarty accompanied Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on his Team Florida Trade and Business Development Mission during which the commissioner met with the chairman of Lloyd’s of London and several other U.K.-based regulatory agencies. It was during this meeting that creation of the bilateral agreement was first discussed with colleagues from the FSA.

The Florida insurance regulator and the FSA have regularly cooperated in the past, but this agreement will give each regulatory agency formal authority to request assistance of the other for verification, investigation and examination of issues relating to regulated companies under one or the other’s supervision.

It establishes a formal basis for consultation, cooperation and coordination between the FSA and the Florida regulator, and it provides for the exchange of information relevant to each agency’s supervisory, regulatory and examination responsibilities.

The agreement between Florida and the UK follows a similar MOU between Florida and the German regulator BaFin announced on June 22.