Following conclusion of its recent consultation process, the Central Bank has published a Guidance Note and Checklist, Policy Notice, Addendum to the Domestic Actuarial Regime and Handbook on the Authorisation and Supervision of Branches of Third-Country Insurers. The Central Bank expects that authorised third-country branches will, as a condition of their authorisation, comply with the terms of the Central Bank’s Handbook and Domestic Actuarial Regime and related governance requirements under Solvency II.

The Central Bank also expects that third-country branches will comply with: applicable EIOPA Guidelines; all relevant financial services legislation; and the Central Bank’s fitness and probity standards and conduct of business rules.  All third-country branches will be supervised under the Central Bank’s PRISM Framework and third-country branches authorised to carry on non-life insurance business will be required to contribute to the Insurance Compensation Fund. 

In assessing an authorisation application of a branch of a third-country insurer, the Central Bank will, amongst other things, have regard to: the scale and complexity of the business being written in Ireland; the equivalence of the home supervisory authority; the adequacy of the bankruptcy regime of the home supervisory authority as against the winding up provisions provided for in the European Union (Insurance and Reinsurance) Regulations 2015; and whether the business model of the third-country branch and the prudential soundness of the third-country insurer have been verified by the supervisory authority. In this respect the Central Bank expects that a Memorandum of Understanding be concluded with the home supervisory authority before a formal decision to authorise the third-country branch has been made.

The Policy Notice also includes examples of operations that the Central Bank would consider unsuitable for establishment as a third-country branch, including operations of significant scale or with significant numbers of Irish policyholders. The Central Bank has indicated that it reserves the right to consider a broader range of factors in assessing the authorisation of a third-country branch other than those factors set out in the Policy Notice.

The Central Bank has also published a checklist and guidance note, which sets out the authorisation process for branches of third-country insurers and can be accessed here.

The Central Bank's Policy Notice, Addendum to the Actuarial Regime and Handbook are here.

This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.