US remains sticking point ahead of 2016 implementation, says Sharon Bowles

Insurer Solvency II Europe

Implementation of Solvency II is scheduled for January 2016, but speakers at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) conference on Solvency II, Looking to the Future, said there were still challenges around equivalence with other countries that the regulations needed to overcome.

Member of European Parliament (MEP) Sharon Bowles said there was still a risk that Europe could be disadvantaged in the global marketplace as a result of Solvency II.

“The sticking problem that we have is what to with the US which is an enormous concern to industry throughout Europe,” Bowles told delegates. “The parliament is very keen that we get an arrangement that doesn’t put European industry at risk. We are not saying ‘lower standards in Europe’, but you can’t just say this is our standard and the rest of the world has to fit around it. Not everyone is interested in being equivalent.”

“We are still dancing around trying to find the solution,” Bowles added.

However, financial secretary to the treasury Sajid Javid said the European and UK insurance markets could be enhanced by the new regulations for Europe.

“For many countries in the EU this real-world assessment of the balance sheet and the risk profile of firms will be an important step forward and it will be a major improvement on the incoherent patchwork of European insurance regulation that existed under Solvency I,” he said. “Solvency II is a step in the right direction. It has the potential to establish a genuinely single market, introducing significant positivity for UK insurers.”