Friday, 29 June 2018

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EC collective redress proposal: key messages


On 21 June 2018, Insurance Europe cautioned against the adoption of the proposal made by the European Commission on representative actions in consumers’ collective redress as part of its “New Deal for Consumers”.
The reasons for the caution include that the proposal fails to follow the EC’s own 2013 recommendations on collective redress and consequently creates an imbalance between consumers and defendant companies. It is being put forward before member states’ collective redress mechanisms have had time to be evaluated and the actual need for it is therefore unclear. Furthermore, consumers’ fundamental rights to choose whether to be affected by civil procedures are not protected, the scope of the EC proposal is unclear and the legal basis for the proposal is doubtful.
Insurance Europe’s key messages are here and its more detailed concerns are here.

Monday, 25 June 2018

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EIOPA publishes an expanded set of Solvency II statistics on the European insurance sector



 EIOPA published a new set of statistical information on the European insurance sector based on Solvency II regulatory reporting for the fourth quarter of 2017.
In addition to the regular statistics, for the first time EIOPA is publishing new exposure statistics on the European insurance sector. This new data contains:
-         Detailed statistics on types of exposure as well as location of exposure both  at    European Economic Area and individual country level
-          Clear asset classifications including government bonds, commercial bonds and equity
-          Real estate exposures with a distinction between commercial and residential exposures
-          Raw aggregated exposure data to enable more in-depth analysis by end-users
Starting with today's publication, the new exposure data will become a regular part of the EIOPA insurance statistics which can be accessed via EIOPA's website.

Monday, 11 June 2018

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European mutual and cooperative insurers strengthened market share through stable and secure business model



AMICE and ICMIF have collaborated to co-publish the biggest longitudinal study of the mutual and cooperative insurance sector in Europe:Facts and figures: Mutual and cooperative insurance in Europe Vol 2.
The study covers the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU), plus the four countries which are members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). These countries reflect the AMICE membership criteria. The main purposes of the study are to:
·         describe the mutual and cooperative insurance sector in Europe by highlighting the size, relevance and socio-economic importance of mutual and cooperative insurers in Europe from 2007 to 2015; and
·         provide a detailed European legal landscape of mutual and cooperative insurers post-Solvency II as it is applied in each countries of this report.

AMICE launched the publication to 175 delegates present at its biennial Congress in Stockholm this week, hosted by two of AMICE’s Swedish members, Folksam and Länsförsäkringar.

The report demonstrates that Europe’s mutual and cooperative insurers have seen a resurgence in business in recent years. Statistical data sourced and analysed for this report by ICMIF demonstrates that the period between 2007 and 2015 witnessed a renewed interest from members/policyholders in mutual and cooperative insurance, turning the trend from the previous edition of this report published in 2012 by AMICE and covering the years 2004-2008.
The report comprises an analysis of the landscape and evolution of the European mutual and cooperative insurance industry, followed by individual chapters dedicated to each country covered in the report. Each country chapter contains an overview of the legal environment, developed through desk research by AMICE, as it stands in 2017/2018 to describe the various legal and regulatory systems after the implementation of Solvency II at the beginning of 2016. Statistical data has been analysed for the period between 2007 and 2015, reflecting the most up-to-date information available at the commencement of the research.

President of AMICE Grzegorz Buczkowski welcomed the release of the report. He said: “This in-depth study demonstrates the renewed interest of policyholders in the security afforded to them by mutual and cooperative insurers, reflecting the unique relationship between mutuals and their members/policyholders. It also shows, though, that there is very uneven recognition of the legal form of mutual and cooperative insurers across Europe. This ultimately leads to unequal treatment in different European Member States, to the detriment of some policyholders.”
AMICE Secretary General Sarah Goddard said: “The fundamental distinguishing feature of mutual and cooperative insurers, setting them apart from listed insurance companies, is that they operate for the benefit of their members/policyholders rather than for the benefit of external investors. One consequence of this is that mutual and cooperative insurers have a stronger focus on the longer-term time horizon than their listed counterparts, notably in respect to their relationship with members/policyholders. This also manifests itself in many mutual and cooperatives insurers’ approach towards products and claims, socio-economic responsibilities, democratic governance and sustainability.”

She continued: “Whether the upwards trends identified in this report will continue remain to be seen. There are significant changes taking place in the wider European insurance industry, as well as new competition developing from technological innovation. The flexibility of mutual/cooperative insurers to respond to external factors and of regulators to recognise their unique features will play a large part in their future success.”

Commenting on the report, co-author and ICMIF lead on the statistical data element of the report, Ben Telfer, Vice-President, Business Intelligence, said: “This reports provides the most comprehensive insight into the state of mutual and cooperative insurance in Europe and the positive financial performance of the sector post the global financial crisis 2007-2008. The significant growth in premium income, market share and total assets demonstrates the strength and resilience of the mutual/ cooperative model of insurance, and the increases in the number of employees and number of members/policyholders shows the socio-economic importance of mutual and cooperative insurance, and the re-emergence of its appeal among European consumers.”

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

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Andreas Brandstetter named president of Insurance Europe



Andreas Brandstetter, the CEO and chairman of Austria’s UNIQA Insurance Group, has been elected president of Insurance Europe, the European insurance and reinsurance federation, for a term of three years.
An Austrian citizen, Brandstetter has headed UNIQA since 2011. He joined the composite insurer, which is active in 18 European countries, in 1997.
Commenting on his appointment, Brandstetter said: “I am truly honoured to be elected to represent the European insurance industry as its federation’s president. Our industry makes a huge contribution to society, both through the protection we offer to customers and the long-term investments we make in the economy. Society is evolving rapidly and our industry must evolve too, so this is a particularly fascinating time to be representing Europe’s insurers, both within Europe and around the world.”
Brandstetter was elected today at Insurance Europe’s General Assembly meeting in Madrid. He will give a keynote speech tomorrow at the federation’s 10th International Conference.
He succeeds Sergio Balbinot, member of the management board at Allianz Group, who had served the maximum two mandates as president.
Brandstetter said: “I wish to thank Sergio for the incredible contribution that he has made over the last eight years. He has been a driving force and an outstanding representative for Europe’s insurers during his tenue.”

Thursday, 17 May 2018

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Overview of insurers’ obligations under the GDPR published


Insurance Europe has today published an overview of insurers’ main obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation, which will apply from 25 May 2018. 
The GDPR introduces new and enhanced requirements for insurers to comply with when processing the personal data of consumers.
Insurers will have to enhance security and policy measures to ensure that consumers’ data remains secure, and put processes in place to enable consumers to exercise their rights under the GDPR.
The full overview is available here.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

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EIOPA LAUNCHES THE FOURTH EU-WIDE INSURANCE STRESS TEST



The aim is to assess vulnerabilities of the European insurance sector
 It is not a pass-or-fail exercise
  The stress scenarios encompass a combination of market and insurance specific risks as well as the exposure to cyber risk
  42 European insurance groups participate representing close to 78 % of the total European market coverage
 Increased transparency in the disclosure of the stress test results
 Frankfurt, 14 May 2018 – Today, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) launched its fourth stress test for the European insurance sector. This regular exercise aims to assess insurers’ vulnerabilities. It is not a passor-fail-exercise. For each stress test, EIOPA tailors the scope and scenarios according to developments in market conditions and their potential negative implications for insurers. The 2018 scenarios encompass a combination of market and insurance specific risks, including a natural catastrophe scenario. The objectives of the fourth insurance stress test are:
 To assess vulnerabilities of the European insurance sector to specific adverse scenarios with potential negative implications for the European financial markets and the real economy
 To raise the awareness of the potential threats to financial stability posed by the insurance sector at the European level
 To increase transparency by requesting the voluntarily disclosure of individual results by participating groups This year’s exercise targets 42 European insurance groups. EIOPA, in coordination with the national competent authorities, selected the companies according to size, European Union-wide and local market coverage as well as relevance for financial stability. In total, the target sample represents approximately 78% European market coverage, based on total consolidated group assets according to Solvency II financial stability reporting.
The full list of the participating groups can be found here. The deadline for submission of results to the national competent authorities is 16 August 2018. EIOPA will regularly publish questions and answers addressing queries from the participating groups.
The publication of the stress test results is planned in January 2019. Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA, said: “The scenarios reflect severe but plausible external shocks including insurance specific shocks. Furthermore, for the first time the exposure to cyber risk and best practices in dealing with these risks is assessed.
This stress test will therefore provide further valuable insight to the resilience of the European insurance sector. The increased transparency is key to ensure a level playing field and enhance market discipline among the stress test participating groups.” 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

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Risk Dashboard for fourth quarter of 2017: Risk exposure of the European Union insurance sector remains stable



The results show that the risk exposure of the insurance sector in the European Union remained stable. Despite positive macroeconomic developments, low interest rates are still a major source of risk for European insurers. Credit and market risks continued at a medium level. Spreads further decreased and concerns about potential risk mispricing remained. Volatility of equity prices increased and valuations are now slightly lower. Median profitability levels were broadly the same as in the fourth quarter of 2016 and solvency positions continued to be strong for both groups and solo companies. The impact of the natural catastrophes from the third quarter kept insurance risks at a medium level. Market perceptions were mixed, with insurers' stock prices outperforming the market but at the same time there was a deterioration of the external rating outlook for some insurance groups.
Risk Dashboard based on fourth quarter of 2017 data.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

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Fitch: Does Blockchain Represent a Paradigm Shift for Insurance?



Fitch Ratings views blockchain as a potential game-changing technology for the insurance industry over the long term. Benefits could range from significantly reduced operating costs, more accurate customer-specific data, and better risk pricing and improved efficiencies. However, the technology remains unproven, and greater clarity around its advantages and risks will be revealed over the next three to five years. As such, we do not see blockchain affecting insurer ratings over the short to intermediate term.
 Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, is used in a decentralized fashion to digitally record and verify a wide range and volume of information relating to commercial transactions. The technology was initially created as part of the bitcoin cryptocurrency network. Blockchain's transparency, security and information storage capacity have recently attracted other industries to explore opportunities to leverage this technology.
Insurance is fertile ground for blockchain's capabilities. With the industry's large number of complex transactions between multiple parties, blockchain could theoretically offer significant cost reductions, improved processing speed, and enhanced underwriting and pricing, while reducing fraud. Efficiencies and cost reductions could be achieved by reducing the need for reconciliation and audits, automating certain processes and improving access to data. Estimates of the potential savings for the global (re)insurance industry from Pricewaterhouse Coopers and B3i, an insurance industry trade group focusing on blockchain, range from 15% to 30% of annual current expenses.
The uncertainties around this nascent technology remain pronounced. When and how much blockchain will be adopted remain major unknowns. Part of the challenge is that investment costs relative to benefits are uncertain, and there are numerous legal, regulatory and security issues that need to be addressed to facilitate wide-scale adoption.
There is also no particular urgent crisis that blockchain would address to necessitate immediate application. Fitch believes that the ultimate viability of the technology for the insurance industry will depend on a select group of industry leaders adopting blockchain to gain competitive advantages.
The insurance industry is taking tentative steps to explore the technology. The aforementioned B3i initiative has grown to 15 insurance industry firms, up from five when the technology first became available in 2016.
The RiskBlock Alliance was also created as an insurance industry trade group to facilitate blockchain use in risk management. The Fitch special report published today, "Blockchain and Insurance - The Trust Machine," assesses the potential benefits, risks and uncertainties regarding blockchain's application to the insurance industry. The report is available to subscribers through the link above or at www.fitchratings.com.

https://www.fitchratings.com/

Friday, 27 April 2018

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EIOPA defines its supervisory convergence priorities



 The supervisory convergence plan focuses on the implementation of Solvency II and conduct of business supervision
 EIOPA defined three priority areas, namely the implementation of the common supervisory culture, addressing the risks to the internal market and to the level playing field which may lead to supervisory arbitrage as well as the supervision of emerging risks Frankfurt,

23 April 2018 – Today, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published its supervisory convergence plan for 2018-2019 for the insurance sector, focussing on the implementation of Solvency II and conduct of business supervision. Supervisory convergence should ensure a high, effective and consistent level of supervision throughout the European Union, granting a similar level of protection to all European policyholders and beneficiaries. To strengthen further supervisory convergence for 2018 and 2019, EIOPA defined the following three priority areas:
1. Implementation of the common supervisory culture and new supervisory tools 2. Risks to the internal market and the level playing field which may lead to supervisory arbitrage 3. Supervision of emerging risks
The implem entation of a common supervisory culture will include the further specification of each of the key characteristics of the common supervisory culture. In addition, EIOPA will develop common benchmarks for the supervision of internal models, work on a common basis for the supervisory assessment of conduct risks throughout a product’s life cycle, perform a thematic review on travel insurance and define good practices for the supervision of intra-group transactions and risks concentrations.
To address risks to the internal market and to the level playing field, EIOPA will analyse the consistency of the calculations of technical provisions in general and in a cross-border context in particular for non-life business such as the “decennial liability insurance” and “medical malpractice insurance”. Furthermore, special attention will be paid to the assessment of internal model outcomes, the detection of potential unsustainable cross-border business models and the establishment of specific collaboration platforms where needed.
In the area of supervision of emerging risks, EIOPA will develop good practices on the supervision of IT security and governance, including supervisory expectations on insurance undertakings’ practices on cyber security and explore efficient ways to perform a cyber-attack penetration test. A thematic review of the insurance industry’s use of big data as well as the monitoring of the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will continue to ensure consistency in supervisory approaches.
The priorities of the supervisory plan were identified according to their impact on policyholders and on financial stability as well as on the level playing field or the functioning of the internal market.
The priority areas include also those areas of supervision where practices across the European Union still differ substantially. At the beginning of 2019, the supervisory convergence plan will be updated and include a progress report. On conduct of business supervision, EIOPA has developed a broader strategy to address supervisory convergence from the conduct perspective.
The strategy underlines tools for improving market monitoring and risk identification and mitigation as well as developing proactive supervisory capacities across the European Union with the aim to tackle better potential consumer detriment. Gabriel Bernardino, Chairman of EIOPA, said: “Achieving supervisory convergence, one of EIOPA’s strategic goals, requires a collective effort by all national supervisory Page 3 of 3 authorities and EIOPA. This supervisory convergence plan sets key priority areas, which are crucial for achieving high-quality and effective supervision and the implementation of a common supervisory culture across the European Union in the interest of the policy holders.”


Monday, 23 April 2018

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Broad industry coalition calls upon EU decision-makers to act now for equal access to in-vehicle data and functions



A broad coalition comprising vehicle dealers, automotive aftermarket and mobility services operators, the European insurance industry, the European representations of both motorist consumers and SMEs, is urging EU decision-makers to act decisively to establish fair and equal access to in-vehicle data and resources, amidst concerns that effective competition, innovation and free consumer choice are currently not being placed at the heart of its agenda. 
In order to continue offering the high level of competitive services demanded by their customers, together with improved operational safety and environmental compliance, all independent service providers ‘around the car’ must be able to compete on an equal footing with vehicle manufacturers (VMs) by continuing to access the vehicle, its data and functions in an independent and direct manner. This would allow the development of new competitive digital services resulting in true consumer choice and enabling consumers to fully decide with whom they share their data.
However, all this would not be possible with the model put forward by VMs, the so-called ‘Extended Vehicle’, which will channel all future communication and data access through their own backend server. As such, this would prevent all other independent service providers from offering competing services to consumers, as only a small part of the vehicle-generated data will be shared with them, compared to the data available to the VMs. Also, direct real-time communication with the vehicle/its functions/the driver is prevented.
The coalition has therefore launched a Manifesto urging EU decision-makers, and in the first instance the EU Commission, to ‘act now’ by introducing pertinent requirements aiming to establish in the coming years the “interoperable, standardised, secure and open access telematics platform” set out in the 2015 EU eCall Regulation in order to ensure a level playing field. This solution would maintain consumer choice, independent entrepreneurship, competition and innovation for all services ‘around the car’, whilst ensuring the same high level of safety, security, liability and data protection as the VMs use themselves. According to the Commission’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) Study Report, it is the only solution that would allow equal opportunities for independent service providers and true competitive choice for consumers, but it requires legislative intervention.
The Call to Action by the Coalition asks:
  • For the European Commission to start working on a robust regulatory framework for an interoperable, standardised, secure and safe on-board application platform. High Level Principles and Requirements should be enshrined now into the Data/Third Mobility Package upon which the work can be triggered so that a solution will be in place without undue delay to address the rapidly increasing number of connected vehicles in the automotive service and mobility markets.
  • In the mean time and until such a platform is in place, there should be a ‘right to do business’, and vehicle manufacturers should give as from 1.1.2020, non-discriminatory access to the in-vehicle telematics systems used by themselves, and to those in-vehicle systems and interfaces which they allow third party service providers access to.
  • To adopt a sound definition of Remote Diagnostic Support (RDS), which is currently being discussed with DG GROW as a follow-up of the new Vehicle Type-Approval Regulation, enabling the remote, direct bi-directional communication with the vehicle via a standardised in-vehicle interface to conduct a remote diagnostics analysis.
This ‘Call for Action’ is also in line with the European Parliament’s TRAN Committee Report on C-ITS which calls upon the Commission to publish a legislative proposal on access to in-vehicle data and resources by the end of this year.
The coalition upholds that the current telematics data access model - controlled and operated by car manufacturers – prevents independent businesses from embracing digital opportunities, jeopardises consumer choice, innovation and a prosperous EU digital economy. It’s clear what is at stake here. “Our solution is for fair and equal access to vehicle telematics, to ensure safety and security is maintained, whilst safeguarding competition, innovation and consumer choice. It is therefore crucial that competition, innovation and consumer interests must be put back at the heart of the EU Digital Single Market”.
Please find the manifesto here. The Undersigned association are:
ADPA The European Independent Data Publishers Association aims to ensure fair access to automotive data and information and to provide competitive framework conditions for independent data publishers. This will allow the publishers to be able to design and provide competitive, innovative and multibrand products and services to operators of the automotive aftermarket. Contact: Laurence Eeckhout – EU Affairs Manager – laurence.eeckhout@adpa.eu – tel: +32 2 761 95 16
CECRA The European Council for Motor Trades and Repairs is the European Federation representing the interests of the motor trade and repair businesses and European Dealer Councils on behalf of vehicle dealers for specific makes. Its main aim is to maintain a favourable European regulatory framework for the enterprises of motor trade and repair businesses it represents.
Contact: Bernard Lycke – Director General – Bernard.lycke@cecra.eu – tel: +32 2 771 96 56

CITA
 is the international association of public and private sector organisations actively practicing compulsory inspection of in-service motor vehicles and their trailers, or with responsibility for authorising and supervising inspection organisations. CITA has defined its vision as enabling its members to play an influential role in the development and implementation of policies for safe and sustainable road usage. This vision will be supported by CITA’s Mission to provide the forums to create, assess and promote best practice, ensuring safe and compliant vehicles throughout their life cycle.
Contact: Eduard Fernandez Executive Director – e.fernandez@citainsp.org – tel: +32 2 469 06 70

EGEA The European Garage and Test Equipment Association represents both manufacturers and importers of tools and equipment for the repair, servicing and technical inspection of vehicles, as an integral part of supporting the automotive industrial value chain. Its role is to ensure that its associations’ members can provide the best equipment and service to the automotive aftermarket by striving to keep members up-to-date concerning new vehicle technologies and legislative and standardisation requirements and thus be competitive in the garage and test equipment supply, service and calibration industry.
Contact: Eléonore van Haute – Secretary General – Eleonore.vanhaute@egea-association.eu – tel: +32 2 761 95 15

ETRMA
 is the voice of tyre and rubber goods producers to various European institutions. ETRMA activities focus on the following key interdependent areas: representation, co-ordination, communication, promotion and technical liaison. The primary objective of ETRMA is to represent the regulatory and related interests of the European tyre and rubber manufacturers at both European and international levels. ETRMA is the sole interlocutor, specifically designated by the European tyre and rubber producers to carry out this critical task.
Contact: Fazilet Cinaralp – Secretary General – f.cinaralp@etrma.org and Marianna Faino – Coordinator Environment & Transport – m.faino@etrma.org – tel: +32 2 218 49 40

FIA Region I is a worldwide federation of Motoring and Touring Clubs. FIA Region I represents the interest of these members as motorists, public transport users, pedestrians and tourists in Europe. Its primary goal is to secure a mobility that is safe, affordable, sustainable and efficient.
Contact: Chris Carroll – Policy Director – ccarroll@fia.com – tel: +32 2 282 08 18

Insurance Europe
 is the European insurance and reinsurance federation. Through its 35 member bodies — the national insurance associations — Insurance Europe represents all types of insurance and reinsurance undertakings, eg pan-European companies, monoliners, mutuals and SMEs. Insurance Europe, which is based in Brussels, represents undertakings that account for around 95% of total European premium income. Insurance makes a major contribution to Europe’s economic growth and development. European insurers generate premium income of €1 200bn, directly employ over 940 000 people and invest over €10 100bn in the economy.
Contact: Thomas Gelin – Policy Advisor – Gelin@insuranceeurope.eu – tel: +32 2 894 30 48

FIGIEFA
 is the international federation of independent automotive aftermarket distributors. Its members represent retailers and wholesalers of automotive replacement parts and components and their associated repair chains. FIGIEFA’s aim is to maintain free and effective competition in the market for vehicle replacement parts, servicing and repair.
Contact: Sylvia Gotzen – CEO – Sylvia.gotzen@figiefa.eu – tel: +32 2 761 95 10

Leaseurope
 The European Federation of Leasing Company Associations represents both the leasing and automotive rental industries in Europe. The scope of products covered by Leaseurope members’ ranges from hire purchase and finance leases to operating leases of all asset categories (automotive, equipment and real estate). It also includes the short-term rental of cars, vans and trucks.
Contact: Richard Knubben – Director – r.knubben@leaseurope.com – tel: +32 2 778 05 68

UEAPME
 is the employer's organisation representing the interests of European crafts, trades and SMEs at EU level. UEAPME is a recognised European Social Partner. It is a non-profit seeking and non-partisan organisation. As the European SME umbrella organisation, UEAPME incorporates 67 member organisations from 34 countries consisting of national cross-sectorial SME federations, European branch federations and other associate members, which support the SME family. UEAPME represents about 12 million enterprises, which employ around 55 million people across Europe. Contact: Dieter Grohmann – Director Communication and Media – d.grohmann@ueapme.com – tel: +32 2 285 07 05 and Véronique Willems – Secretary General – v.willems@ueapme.com – tel: +32 2 285 07 22

UEIL 
The Union of the European Lubricants Industry represents the interests of the lubricants industry in Europe, with a special focus on SMEs and independent companies that produce lubricants and metal processing fluids essential for the automotive and industrial sectors.
Contact: François Guegan – Competition Committe Vice-Chairman – francois.guegan@cipelia.com – tel: +32 2 761 66 85