FCA review of the general insurance distribution chain – “at a glance” guide

In line with its continuing focus on fairness in pricing and customer value, the FCA has published a thematic review on the general insurance distribution chain (TR19/2). The review contains a clear warning to firms involved in the design and sale of general insurance products that they must do more to protect customers from harm.

That warning is further emphasised in its Dear CEO letter, which sets out expectations of general insurance firms and reminds them of their responsibilities under both the new rules introduced by the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) and the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR).  Alongside the thematic review, the FCA has published proposed guidance (GC19/2) for insurance product manufacturers and distributors (including, for example, retail banks) to clarify its expectations in terms of product development and distribution approaches.

The FCA has indicated that it intends to conduct further supervisory activities in this area and will intervene using its full range of enforcement tools to ensure firms meet their regulatory obligations.

Our “at a glance” guide (which can be found here) provides a summary of the thematic review and guidance consultation, as well as the implications for insurance manufacturers and distributors. The deadline for responses to GC19/2 is 9 July 2019.

Geoffrey Maddock
Geoffrey Maddock
Partner, London
+44 20 7466 2067
Barnaby Hinnigan
Barnaby Hinnigan
Partner, London
+44 20 7466 2816
Alison Matthews
Alison Matthews
Consultant, London
+44 20 7466 2765
Grant Murtagh
Grant Murtagh
Senior Associate, London
+44 20 7466 2158
Caroline Hagg
Caroline Hagg
Associate, London
+44 20 7466 6311

BREXIT UPDATE – EEA (RE)INSURERS

EEA insurers and reinsurers doing business in the UK under the insurance passport must prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. We consider, in our latest “At a Glance” guide, the impact of Brexit on the cross-border activities of EEA (re)insurers, including how firms might respond to the European Council’s recent agreement to a transition period.

The “At a Glance” guide can be found here.

EXTENDING THE SENIOR MANAGERS AND CERTIFICATION REGIME TO INSURERS

The UK Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) is being extended to all financial services firms during 2018. PRA and FCA proposals applying to insurers build on the Senior Insurance Managers Regime (SIMR) although the transition to the SMCR is complicated by overlapping Solvency II requirements.

We have prepared a guide for insurers to the proposals set out in PRA CP14/7 and FCA CP17/26 (please click here for a copy).

Our experience of working with clients on the SMCR and the SIMR suggests that implementation projects should begin now rather than waiting for the outcome of the consultations.

FCA CONSULTS ON EXTENDING THE SMCR TO INSURANCE INTERMEDIARIES

The FCA has published proposals to extend the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR), which already applies to banks, to other financial services firms.  The new rules, which are designed to make individuals more accountable for their actions, will affect insurance intermediaries and their employees.

We have prepared:

  • a two page “at a glance” guide (click here) to the FCA’s proposals; and
  • a more detailed briefing (click here) which considers the implications for insurance intermediaries and their employees of the FCA’s proposals.

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Exiting the EU – the die is cast

On Wednesday 29 March 2017, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)(“Article 50”) of the UK’s intention to leave the EU. This means, almost certainly, that two years from now the UK will leave the European Union, some 46 years after becoming a Member State of the then “European Common Market” on 1st January 1973.

Click here to read our briefing which contains analysis of the UK’s notice. We have also produced a handy two page guide which summarises the key issues that are likely to arise following the triggering of Article 50.

Key governance developments – “at a glance” guide for insurers

The governance landscape for insurers continues to develop following the introduction of the Senior Insurance Managers Regime last year and PRA Supervisory Statement SS5/16 on Board Responsibilities.  The Audit Directive, which applies to financial years beginning on or after 17 June 2016 (subject to transitional provisions), will affect the way in which insurers manage their audit arrangements, and in particular introduces independence requirements to most firms.  The extension of the banking sector Senior Managers and Certification Regime (“SMCR”) to all authorised firms will also bring change to insurers’ compliance and governance processes.  A consultation paper on the extension of the SMCR is expected in Q2 2017.

Our “at a glance” guide (which can be found here) provides a summary of recent developments in governance for insurance companies.

Treasury Committee inquiry into Solvency II – the case for change

The House of Commons Treasury Committee (“TC”) is looking at the case for changing, or even replacing, Solvency II in a post-Brexit world.  Its inquiry provides firms and industry bodies with perhaps their best opportunity to influence the future content of UK insurance regulation. The possible endorsement by the TC of views expressed by industry is likely to be particularly persuasive in future deliberations by the PRA.

This “at a glance” guide looks at demands for reform put by industry to the TC and at the PRA’s response to some of the questions being asked of it.

Brexit – Implications for insurers

The UK vote to leave the EU raises novel political and legal questions which neither side of the referendum campaign appears to have considered in any meaningful way.  Nonetheless, businesses are having to consider the implications of the vote as best they can while waiting for the outcome of negotiations over the UK’s exit.

Our “at a glance” guide highlights over two pages the key issues raised by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU for insurers and reinsurers.

Our more detailed guide “Access to the single market” – an explanation for the (reinsurance) sector explains the issues raised by Brexit for the (re)insurance market in greater depth.  In particular, it considers Solvency II rules applying to third country branches and whether obtaining equivalence status under Solvency II would allow UK insurers to access EEA insurance markets once they lose their passporting rights.  A particular issue for insurers post-Brexit is the ability to service cross-border business written before the passport is withdrawn.