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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Northern Europe is “much better prepared” for Solvency II

Insurers in northern Europe are better prepared for the Solvency II directive than their southern neighbours, according to qualitative data.


The Grand Canal and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy. © Shutterstock
In Italy insurers struggle to “deal collectively” with the new regulations because of the “fragmented aspect” of the industry. © Shutterstock

Based on “conversations” with “hundreds” of insurance and asset management professionals over the past two years, data firm Silverfinch said larger countries with the most advance financial infrastructure were better prepared than smaller ones.

However, the report, which focused on responses to Solvency II mainly in Germany, France and Italy, said attention to different areas of reporting varied from country to country. 

In Germany, firms are confident that they have “mastered” pillar one, which consists of quantitative requirements such as the amount of capital a firm should hold. 

In France, firms have focused their attention on pillar three, which relates to reporting and disclosure of information to the regulator. 

Silverfinch said overall, France appeared to be on track for all aspects of the directive, but added: “Of course, this will only be seen once the new rules have come into force”.

The firm also said on one of the structural problems reported across the continent was the delay “at European level” in finalising some of the smaller details of the regulation, making it “impossible” for local regulators and legislators to proceed, combined by issues in each country.

For example, in Italy insurers struggle to “deal collectively” with the new regulations because of the “fragmented aspect” of the industry. 

The firm said the country’s two key companies had the “breadth of influence and experience” to deal with broad aspects of the regime, but a “myriad” of much smaller insurers struggled to tackle many aspects of the new rule.

John Dowdall, managing director at Silverfinch, said: “With different countries focusing on distinct pillars of the regulation and selecting various models for their data reporting, only time will tell who is best prepared. 

“The one thing which is certain is that the financial regulation of the European Union is in for a shake-up.”