ACI Brexit Panel Preview: Four Key Issues for International Insurers

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On March 8, 2018, at the 14th ACI National Forum on Insurance Regulation in New York City, I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on Brexit and its implications for the global insurance community. With Brexit’s implementation over a year away and many details left to be decided, insurance professionals and their legal counsel have been left with little more than speculation on the unprecedented event’s effects on their industry. Some central issues and concerns, however, are crystalizing. The following are a few of the key topics our panel is sure to raise.

How UK insurers and reinsurers can access European Economic Area (EEA) markets once the UK has withdrawn from the EU:

UK insurance and reinsurance leaders signaled early on that, should voters choose to leave the EU, the industry’s continued participation in the EEA would be a priority. Now that the Brexit “clock” is counting down, insurance professionals in the UK have turned to the practical and logistical concerns of achieving that objective in an uncertain regulatory environment. One of the biggest concerns to UK insurers, including Lloyd’s syndicates, is what types of “passports” available to EU members and/or members of the EEA will be lost to the UK once Brexit is finalized and implemented. Will the deadline be extended by the EU representatives, if more time is required?

How the potential loss of “passporting” rights could affect UK insurers with policyholders in the EEA countries:

UK and EEA insurers have long depended on “passporting” rights to operate with relatively few impediments across borders. Although the initial shock of a “Leave” vote has been largely absorbed and the pound sterling has recovered a part of its lost value following the Brexit referendum, there continue to be concerns that the benefits of the London market, which affect United States and other international reinsurers as well as intermediaries, could be severely diluted, and the UK economy including the British pound sterling further adversely impacted, as occurred immediately following the unexpected result of the Brexit referendum. Will UK insurers currently doing business in the EU and/or EEA countries have to establish new subsidiaries or branches to service UK policyholders outside the London market? Will EU and/or EEA insurers currently doing business in the UK have to establish new subsidiaries or branches to service their policyholders in the London market?

The extent to which post-Brexit UK insurance regulation will follow Solvency II:

What will become of the global insurance capital rules that are being developed by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) once the proposals become entangled in this transatlantic divide? What other consequences, challenges, and opportunities face the UK outside of the EU once Brexit is implemented?

What Brexit will mean for the U.S. insurance market:

U.S. insurers are nearly as concerned as their UK counterparts with the implications of Brexit. Many U.S. insurers have long based their European operations in the UK; now there are concerns as to how the UK’s exit from the EU will affect the U.S. once the UK is no longer subject to the recently signed U.S.-EU covered agreement. Will the UK’s system of insurance regulation, which essentially follows Solvency II, continue to be deemed “equivalent”? Will the UK have to enter into a separate covered agreement with the U.S., will a simple endorsement by the UK be accepted, or will any additional steps need to be taken by either party to the U.S.-EU covered agreement in view of reservations expressed by state insurance regulators ahead of signature of the covered agreement?

The other panelists and I are sure to discuss these and other subjects in much greater detail at the March 8 event. Individuals and groups interested in attending should contact ACI by January 26 to secure discounted registration prices. The code “S10-869-869|18.S” will entitle attendees to 10 percent off registration fees. Higher discounts may be available for larger groups — but only until January 26.

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