Annual report 2017-2018

Overcoming the protection gap

As a convinced European, it has been my privilege to serve as Insurance Europe president since 2011, representing the views of insurers to EU decision-makers and providing the European institutions with the expert input they request in order to develop a strong and appropriate regulatory framework for the benefit of Europe’s citizens and its economy.

Over my seven years as president, Insurance Europe, under the leadership of director general Michaela Koller, has continued to make high quality, fact-based and representative contributions to European debates. Looking back, I recall some intensive discussions with policymakers: meetings with Commissioners Barnier and Hill and Vice-President Dombrovskis; with many MEPs, in particular Burkhard Balz as the rapporteur for Solvency II; with Council presidencies; and, of course, with EIOPA chairman Gabriel Bernardino. The overarching aim on both sides in those — at times — robust discussions has always been to support the strong, innovative insurance industry that Europe needs.
This last year has been no exception. There have been new challenges but also some welcome improvements to EU plans that affect insurers, many of which you will read about in this Annual Report. Let me highlight just a few.

In our increasingly connected world, access to data will be crucial for the future of the insurance industry. In the area of connected and automated vehicles, rather than being bound by agreements pre-negotiated by vehicle manufacturers, the Commission’s C-ITS Platform rightly recognised that consumers should be free to choose with whom they share their data. We now appeal to the Commission to take the necessary legislative action.

Likewise in relation to the Insurance Distribution Directive, we welcome improvements to the new rules, as well as the delay the legislators accorded to stakeholders to implement them. As with the PRIIPs Regulation, the inconsistencies and duplications that remain will, nevertheless, create implementation challenges and we fear increased compliance risk and customer confusion. There will be significant work during the upcoming review(s) to turn these into genuinely useful frameworks.
I would be remiss not to mention Solvency II, our industry’s regulatory framework, on which we have worked intensively over the years. We have two necessary reviews coming up to address long-identified shortcomings. I want to use this opportunity to create the links here with the work on a global insurance capital standard. Insurance Europe is calling strongly for a Solvency II that appropriately reflects the actual risks of long-term products to be the implementation of the global standard in Europe.
After this busy year, I leave safe in the knowledge that my successor Andreas will continue with Michaela and her team to work in the best interests of both the industry and Europe.

Sergio Balbinot

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