The 2nd Annual Conference of EIOPA, that took place on 21 November 2012, formed part of the Frankfurt Euro Finance Week and attracted over 300 participants. The aim of the event was to share with participants the crucial results of the Authority’s work in 2012 and to indicate the challenges that lay ahead of the insurance and occupational pensions sectors in the years to come.
Three stimulating panel sessions have been organized throughout the event:
Session I: Pensions – What shall we change so that nothing changes?
The panellists spoke about such challenges of the pensions’ sector as ageing population, low growth and constraints on public expenditure, which in the end make the prospects for tomorrow’s pensioners uncertain and came to a conclusion that reforms in all the pillars of the European pension system are needed.
The discussion included consideration of the first Quantitative Impact Study (QIS) for occupational pensions that EIOPA launched in mid-October as a follow-up of its Final Advice to the European Commission on the review of the Directive on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORP Directive). Participants considered what if any is the alternative to the Holistic Balance Sheet concept, which is one of the key elements of EIOPA Advice.
Session II: Insurance Regulation – The way ahead
The second session was dedicated to the implementation of Solvency II. Participants supported EIOPA’s call for a clear and credible timeline of the project’s implementation. Discussants emphasized the need for a proper assessment of the impact that Solvency II might have on long-term guarantee products and noted that in this regard the Long-Term Guarantee Assessment (LTGA) that EIOPA is going to carry out at the request of the trilogue parties, will be of a big importance. It was underlined that Solvency II showed the way ahead for the new insurance regulatory landscape, will ensure high level standards for consumer protection and will mirror benefits for the industry in Europe and globally.
At the same time one of the participants, Michael Mc Raith, Director of the US Federal Insurance Office (FIO) updated the audience on the progress of the EU-US Dialogue Project that aims to contribute to an increased mutual understanding and enhanced cooperation between the EU and the US to promote business opportunity, consumer protection and effective supervision. Panellists – including industry representatives and supervisors - also agreed that key elements of the Solvency II philosophy such as good risk management should already be implemented now and should not be further delayed because of the stagnant political discussions. It was also emphasised that the role of EIOPA is to ensure consistency in this preparatory work.
Session III: Financial stability – Are insurers actors or victims?
At this session panellists were discussing the role of insurance undertakings in the financial crisis. They agreed with the approach of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to identifying systemic relevant insurers. However, it was noted that this concept should not be overstretched. It was also mentioned that the further development of Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (IAIGs) as an integrated, multilateral and multidisciplinary framework for the group-wide supervision of internationally active insurance groups would be crucial for the protection of policy holders globally.