EIOPA Publishes Recommendations for Insurers in Event of No-Deal Brexit

On February 19, EIOPA published recommendations (EIOPA-BoS-19/040) on providing guidance on the treatment of UK insurance undertakings and distributors with regard to cross-border services in the EU in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The recommendations are addressed to NCAs and their general objective is to minimise the detriment to policyholders with cross-border insurance contracts. They are issued in accordance with Article 16 of the EIOPA Regulation (1094/2010), and are based on the Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC), the Insurance Distribution Directive ((EU) 2016/97) (“IDD“), EIOPA guidelines and other relevant EIOPA instruments.

The recommendations relate to matters including the following:

  • Authorization of third-country branches. In accordance with Article 162 of Solvency II, UK insurance undertakings may seek authorization to carry out cross-border business through a branch in a member state.
  • Orderly run-off. NCAs should prevent that UK undertakings conclude new insurance contracts or establish, renew, extend, increase or resume insurance cover under the existing insurance contracts in their jurisdiction if they are not authorized for such insurance activities under EU law. This is without prejudice to policyholder rights to exercise an option or right in an existing insurance contract to realize their pension benefits.
  • Change in the habitual residence or establishment of the policyholder. If a policyholder with habitual residence or, in the case of a legal person, place of establishment in the UK, concluded a life insurance contract with a UK insurance undertaking and afterwards the policyholder changed its habitual residence of place of establishment to a EU27 member state, NCAs should consider in the supervisory review that the insurance contract was concluded in the UK.
  • Distribution activities. NCAs should ensure that UK intermediaries and entities that intend to continue or commence distribution activities to EU27 policyholders and for EU27 risks after the UK’s withdrawal, are established and registered in the EU27 in line with the relevant provisions of the IDD.
  • Portfolio transfer. If it was initiated before the withdrawal date, the NCAs should allow the finalization of portfolio transfer from UK insurance undertakings to EU27 insurance undertakings.

Competent authorities must inform EIOPA whether they comply or intend to comply with the recommendations within two months of the translated versions being issued. They will apply as of the date the UK leaves the EU.

EC Publishes Draft Delegated Regulations under MiFiD II and IDD on Sustainable Finance


On January 4, the European Commission published the following draft Delegated Regulations which are designed to ensure insurance distributors and investment firms take environmental, social and governance (“ESG“) issues into account when advising customers:

  • a Delegated Regulation amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565 as regards to the integration of ESG considerations and preferences into investment advice and portfolio management under the MiFID II Directive (2014/65/EU); and
  • a Delegated Regulation amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/2359 as regards to the integration of ESG considerations and preferences into investment advice for insurance-based investment products (“IBIPs“) under the Insurance Distribution Directive ((EU) 2016/97) (“IDD“).

The draft Delegated Regulations have been produced under Articles 24(13) and 25(8) of the MiFID II Directive, and Article 30(6) of the IDD, respectively. Publication follows a consultation run in May 2018. Although there was generally strong support to enhance the focus on non-financial objectives within the investment process, some stakeholders were reluctant to change their recently-implemented MiFID II or IDD processes. However, the Commission is convinced of the urgency of moving ahead with its sustainable finance proposals. The Commission also believes the proposed timeline for application of the draft Delegated Regulations provides sufficient flexibility as, although each explanatory memorandum states that the draft Delegated Regulations provide for an 18-month transition period, the draft legal texts themselves state that they will apply 12 months after they come into force.

The Commission can only officially adopt the draft Delegated Regulations once the new disclosure provisions for sustainable investments and sustainability risks have been agreed at the EU level. However, in a press release, it advised that publication of the drafts should enable firms to start preparing to take ESG considerations and preferences into account.

The Commission issued a call, in August 2018, for technical advice from EIOPA and ESMA relating to its sustainable finance proposals.

Once adopted by the Commission, the draft Delegated Regulations will enter into force twenty days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU (“OJ“), unless the European Parliament or the Council of the EU objects.

Council of EU Agrees to Delay Application Date of IDD

The Council of the European Union (“EU“) has agreed to delay the transposition deadline of the Insurance Distribution Directive ((EU) 2016/97) (“IDD“) to July 1, 2018, and the application date to October 1, 2018.

On February 14, 2018, the Council of the EU published a press release confirming this. The press release is available here.

The press release explains that the delay will help the insurance industry prepare for the IDD and the changes necessary to comply with implementing rules. Member states will also have more time to transpose the IDD’s provisions.

The press release states that the delay will apply retroactively from February 23, 2018, as the European Parliament and the Council are not expected to adopt the proposed Directive delaying application of the IDD before March 2018.