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Solvency II "to be postponed until 2016", says European Commission

Out-Law News | 04 Oct 2013 | 11:27 am | 1 min. read

The introduction of the new risk management framework for European insurers is to be postponed until 1 January 2016, following a formal request by the European Commission.

Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said that it "would not be possible" to publish final legislative proposals in the Official Journal of the European Union before 1 January 2014; the date that the new regime, known as Solvency II, is scheduled to apply. He has put forward a draft Directive formally postponing the implementation date for approval by the European Parliament and member states.

"I have always wanted rapid implementation of Solvency II," said Barnier. "But the currently planned date is simply no longer tenable. We have therefore proposed this postponement in order to avoid any legal uncertainty, especially for undertakings and supervisory authorities; we have done this only after obtaining assurance from the Council and Parliament that they would not further change this new application date of Solvency II."

The announcement comes shortly after it emerged that a crucial vote on the proposed Omnibus II Directive (155-page / 3.7MB PDF) would not now take place until March 2014. Although Barnier said that agreement between member states and the European Parliament on the contents of the directive was "within reach", neither it nor a number of further implementing measures could be finalised by the end of the year.

The Solvency II regime sets out stronger risk management requirements for European insurers and dictates how much capital firms must hold in relation to their liabilities. Once approved, the Omnibus II Directive will set the scope of technical standards, including capital and supervision requirements, to be prepared by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). Approval of the legislation, which was originally scheduled to come into force last year, has undergone multiple delays leading to considerable confusion from the insurance industry and national regulators.