The FCA portal for incoming EEA firms to notify the PRA and the FCA of their intention to enter the UK Temporary Permissions Regime (“TPR”) is now open.
The TPR will apply if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without an implementation (transitional) period. It ensures that EEA firms currently operating under an incoming passport (either from a UK branch or on a cross-border services basis into the UK) can continue to carry out regulated activities in the UK until they receive new direct authorisation by the UK regulators.
This short “at a glance” guide contains an overview of how the TPR will apply to EEA (re)insurers and suggests some next steps. Notifications must be submitted before 29 March 2019.
The Political Declaration setting out the Framework for the Future Relationship between the EU and the UK was published earlier today.
On financial services (including insurance), the final declaration essentially contains the same three points as in last week’s outline political declaration (as discussed in our blog post of 15th November), although there is some limited further clarification.
Yesterday’s announcements on the terms agreed for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU say relatively little about the future framework for cross-border trade in goods or services. More detail is expected on this next week.
The final deal remains subject to approval by the European Council, the EU Parliament and, crucially, the UK Parliament. Nonetheless, yesterday’s agreement must have increased the chances of a transitional (or implementation) period for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. During that period, both (re)insurers and (re)insurance intermediaries would continue to benefit from the passporting rights that they currently hold, but ultimately stand to lose.
Press reports over the past couple of days suggest that a deal struck by the UK government would “give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit” and that “UK financial companies will be able to operate as they now do in Europe“.
There has not been any confirmation that a deal on services has in fact been reached. Rather, there have been denials. Any deal on services is also dependent on all other aspects of a withdrawal agreement and the new UK-EU relationship being agreed.
The press reports suggest that the EU may have agreed to accept that the UK regulatory regime is “equivalent” to EU standards (which will undoubtedly be true at the time of exit), and that the UK will be given greater certainty than other third countries that this acceptance will not be arbitrarily withdrawn. Michel Barnier has since suggested (in a tweet on 1 November) that this greater certainty for the UK as to withdrawal of equivalence may not be forthcoming.
Whether or not a deal has in fact been reached on services, it is important to recognise that securing “equivalence” does not mean that UK insurers and intermediaries can continue to carry on cross-border business as if they held passporting rights.
We have assisted Airmic to produce a guide for policyholders on Continuity Clauses, which some in the insurance market are using to prepare for the impact of Brexit.
The clauses aim to provide a level of contract continuity in the event that the UK leaves the EU without suitable transitional arrangements being put in place or without an agreement allowing UK insurers to perform cross-border business into the EEA.
The guide explains those Brexit issues of particular relevance to policyholders and explains what Continuity Clauses aim to do. Policyholders are encouraged to discuss the implications of Brexit for their insurance programme with their broker and this guide should assist policyholders in those discussions. Click here to access the guide.
Herbert Smith Freehills is Airmic’s Preferred Service Provider on insurance law issues and has assisted Airmic in producing a number of its technical guides over the past few years.
EIOPA has published an opinion and FAQs emphasising the need for insurers and insurance intermediaries to explain to policyholders how Brexit will affect their insurance cover.
At first sight, EIOPA’s comments appear to reinforce concerns that political compromise cannot be expected on policies written (or performed) on a cross-border basis before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (so-called “legacy contracts”). The particular issue for UK insurers is whether they will have the authorisation they need, post-Brexit, to continue to meet their obligations to EEA policyholders under these contracts. Closer examination of the words used by EIOPA may, however, mean that fewer policies are caught by this issue than has been assumed to date.
Our discussion of EIOPA’s latest opinion can be found here.
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.
Recent announcements made by the PRA and FCA clarify their approach to Brexit following the European Council’s agreement to a transition period for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In particular, insurers, insurance intermediaries and other financial services firms have been encouraged to assume that they will continue to benefit from passporting rights until December 2020. Whilst this is a welcome development, firms cannot be complacent:
- As “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, there can be no certainty about the transition period until all terms of the Withdrawal Agreement are approved, which will only come much later (if at all) in the Brexit negotiations.
- Failing such agreement, the UK’s “temporary permission” regime will enable firms coming into the UK from other EEA jurisdictions to carry on business here while they obtain the PRA and FCA authorisations needed for those activities. UK firms with EEA operations seem unlikely, however, to benefit from a similar concession.
- In practice, this means that UK firms with significant EEA interests are continuing to plan, for now at least, on the assumption that there will be no transition period. Otherwise, they risk disruption to their business if the UK leaves the EU without agreeing the envisaged transition period as part of the terms for its withdrawal.
We consider the latest announcements from the PRA and the FCA. We also note the PRA’s policy statement (PS4/18) and Supervisory Statement (SS2/18) on its approach to branch authorisation and supervision, which were issued at the same time. Continue reading
On 20 December 2017, the Treasury, PRA and FCA clarified their approach to EEA-headquartered financial services firms wishing to carry on business in the UK post-Brexit. More recent evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee (“TC”) sheds further light on the PRA’s thinking. It also highlights the difficulty for the PRA of giving guidance to firms while so much uncertainty surrounds the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
The PRA’s consultation (CP30/17) on its approach to third country insurers, a separate “Dear CEO letter” and comments made to the TC on 16 January merit further comment.
To read the full article, click here. Continue reading
An opinion published by EIOPA on 21 December 2017 raises concerns for UK insurers who have policyholders in EEA states other than the UK. This will include, for example, every life company with annuitants living in an EEA state*, perhaps because they moved from the UK on retirement.
Insurers have been aware of issues raised by Brexit for legacy contracts written (or performed) cross-border since the UK referendum on EU membership (see, for example, our client briefing issued in July 2016). However, it has been widely hoped, to now at least, that a sensible compromise would be reached by the UK government and EU authorities to ensure that firms do not need to embark on expensive and time-consuming processes to avoid detriment to policyholders once the UK finally leaves the EU. Such a compromise currently appears less likely. Continue reading