Preparing for Brexit: EEA (re)insurers – UK Temporary Permissions Regime

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.

 

Brexit Final Political Declaration: Nothing [new] to see here?

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.

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EIOPA issues second warning about the impact of Brexit on insurance contracts

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.

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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.

PRA AND FCA CLARIFY IMPACT OF BREXIT TRANSITION FOR INSURANCE SECTOR

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

Brexit – PRA consults on approach to UK branches of incoming insurers

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.

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Further PRA reform of Solvency II implementation – internal models and reporting

This article was first published on Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence on 17th January 2018.

On 12 December 2017, the PRA published the second in a series of three consultation papers on reforms to the Solvency II regime (CP27/17).  The PRA’s proposals are intended to reduce how often an insurer must apply for approval of changes to its internal model, specifically where approval is needed for an accumulation of minor changes. A process for quarterly model change reporting is also proposed.

The third, and final, consultation paper in the series (CP2/18) was published on 12 January 2018 and proposed some changes to reporting requirements.

CP21/17, the PRA’s first consultation paper in this series, concerns the matching adjustment and is open for comments until 31 January 2018 (see our blog entry of 17 November 2017).

Other aspects of Solvency II that the PRA has confirmed it is looking at are:

  • recalculation of the Transitional Measure on Technical Provisions – the PRA is looking at further simplification of the recalculation process; and
  • external audit of Solvency and Financial Condition Report – the PRA is gathering evidence on whether its approach remains proportionate, particularly for smaller firms.

Responses to CP27/17 and CP2/18 are required by 20 March 2018 and 13 April 2018 respectively. This article looks, in particular, at changes proposed by CP27/17[1].

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Delay to IDD start date/Guidance on UK approach to Brexit

Delay to IDD start date

The EU Commission published draft legislation today (in the form of a proposed Directive and a proposed Delegated Regulation) to delay the IDD start date to 1 October 2018.  It has agreed to requests for a delay made by the European Parliament and a number of Member States despite expressing the view that industry has already been given considerable time to adapt to the new rules.  Individual states are still required to transpose the IDD into domestic regimes by 23 February 2018. The European Parliament and the Council will need to agree the new date in an accelerated legislative procedure.

Brexit – UK approach to incoming financial services firms

The Treasury, PRA and FCA have today set out proposals for dealing with EEA-headquartered financial services firms wishing to conduct regulated activities in the UK post-Brexit.  The concern, of course, is how those firms, including (re)insurers and (re)insurance intermediaries, can operate in the UK once they have lost passporting rights (assuming that they do so).

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PRA proposes reforms to Solvency II regime

This article was first published on Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence.

The PRA has published the first of three consultation papers (CP21/17) on reforming the Solvency II regime.

The consultation reflects PRA experience of working with Solvency II since its introduction in January 2016, while covering some of the improvements proposed by the ABI and discussed earlier this year with the House of Commons Treasury Committee.

This first consultation paper contains some new guidance from the PRA on firms’ use of the matching adjustment. It also consolidates earlier guidance, allowing firms to comment on the PRA’s approach for the first time. The PRA’s aim is not to change its existing guidance but to improve a firm’s chance of making a successful MA application. Continue reading