Ireland: Insurance Quarterly Legal And Regulatory Update - 1 April 2016 To 30 June 2016

Last Updated: 13 July 2016
Article by Dillon Eustace

Most Read Contributor in Ireland, July 2017


Solvency II

(i) Delegated Regulation concerning the calculation of regulatory capital requirements for several categories of assets held by insurance and reinsurance undertakings

On 1 April 2016, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/467 of 30 September 2015 amending Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/35 concerning the calculation of regulatory capital requirements for several categories of assets held by insurance and reinsurance undertakings (the "Amending Regulation") was published in the Official Journal of the EU. The aim of the Amending Regulation is to remove specific regulatory impediments to financing long term investment projects by insurers by amending the treatment of infrastructure investments, European Long Term Investment Funds ("ELTIFs") and equities traded on multilateral trading facilities ("MTFs") under the Solvency II regime.

The revisions made include:

  • A new concept of 'qualifying infrastructure investments': this type of investment presents better risk characteristics than other infrastructure investments and insurers will need to hold a lower level of capital against their investment in these infrastructure projects. 'Qualifying infrastructure investments' will form a distinct asset category under Solvency II and will benefit from an appropriate risk calibration;
  • Allowing investments in ELTIFs to benefit from lower capital charges under Solvency II. This brings them in line with investments in European Venture Capital Funds and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds, which benefit from the same equity capital charge as equities traded on regulated markets;
  • Extending the application of a transitional measure for equity investments to unlisted equities, so that insurers will not suddenly withdraw from equity investments; and
  • Granting equities traded on MTFs the same capital charge as equities traded on regulated markets.

The Amending Regulation entered into force on 2 April 2016 and can be accessed via the following link:

(ii) Central Bank publishes User Procedure Document for uploading Solvency II XBRL Files to the Online Reporting System

On 1 April 2016, the Central Bank published the Online Reporting System - Solvency II XBRL File Upload User Procedure Document Insurance to provide guidance on how to upload Solvency II XBRL files to the Central Bank's Online Reporting System. This user procedure document provides guidance on how to add a Solvency II Return instance to Test ONR for an institution, the file naming convention, the XBRL Instance file, the full list of Solvency II Return file names, validation failure and acceptance and how to view all uploaded files.

The Solvency II XBRL File Upload User Procedure Document can be accessed on the Central Bank website via the following link:

(iii) Update on amendments to Implementing Technical Standards on the templates for the submission of information to the supervisory authorities and to EIOPA Guidelines on Reporting and disclosure

On 5 April 2016, EIOPA published its Consultation Paper on the proposal for amendments to Implementing Technical Standards on the templates for the submission of information to the supervisory authorities and amendments to the EIOPA Guidelines on Reporting and disclosure (16/004) (the "Consultation Paper").

The Consultation Paper proposed amendments to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2450 taking into consideration the Amending Regulation referred to above (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/467).

The proposed amendments focus on template S.06.02, S.26.01, CIC table and Regular Supervisor Report and aim to collect meaningful information for supervisory purposes while ensuring the smallest impact possible on the implementation efforts of industry and national competent authorities.

The Consultation Paper is also introducing corrective provisions to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2450 to correct minor drafting mistakes to avoid misinterpretation of the text.

The proposed amendments to the EIOPA Guidelines on Reporting and Disclosure involve the insertion of new Guideline 19a on qualifying infrastructure investments into the Regular Supervisory Reporting section of the guidelines.

Comments on the Consultation Paper were expected by 3 May 2016

On 2 June 2016, EIOPA published the final report on public consultation 16/004 on the proposal for amendments to Implementing Technical Standards on the templates for submission of information to the supervisory authorities (the "Final Report").

The Final Report sets out the feedback statement to the Consultation Paper and the full package of the public consultation and also the following:

  • The amendment to the ITS laying down implementing technical standards with regards to the templates for the submission of information to the supervisory authorities according to the Solvency II Directive;
  • The amendment to the Guidelines on Reporting and Disclosure;
  • The Impact Assessment; and
  • Resolution of comments.

The Draft ITS were submitted to the Commission for endorsement on 1 June 2016. The Commission has 3 months to endorse or partially endorse the Draft ITS. This period may be extended by 1 month. To ensure timely reporting with reference date of 31 December 2016, EIOPA will issue the adapted XBRL taxonomy (version 2.1.0) in July 2016. The Public Working Draft (2.1.0 PWD) of this taxonomy was published on 1 June 2016 for testing and review by market participants.

The Final Report can be accessed via the following link: reporting-templates-under-Solvency-II.aspx

(iv) Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48(1)) (Insurance Undertakings National Specific Templates Reporting Arrangements) Regulations 2016

On 11 April 2016, the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Act 2013 (Section 48(1)) (Insurance Undertakings National Specific Templates Reporting Arrangements) Regulations 2016 (S.I. 159/2016) (the "Regulations") commenced. The Regulations apply to:

  • All life and non-life insurance undertakings authorised under the European Union (Insurance and Reinsurance) Regulations 2015 and which are rated as High impact under the PRISM supervisory regime;
  • Insurance undertakings transacting business in Ireland on a branch basis and whose Irish Risk annual gross written premium exceeds €25,000,000. (The Regulations commence on 1 January 2017 for these undertakings)
  • Insurance and reinsurance undertakings which transact Variable Annuity Business regardless of PRISM impact rating. These Regulations set out the general reporting requirements in respect of National Specific Templates and the reports required for each of the following: Non-life undertakings;
  • Life undertakings;
  • Undertakings transacting variable annuity business;
  • Undertakings transacting non-life business in Ireland on a branch basis; and
  • Undertakings transacting life business in Ireland on a branch basis.

The Regulations are available at the following link: Documents/SI%20159%20of%202016%20-%20NST%20Regulations.pdf

(v) Update on EIOPA technical advice on the identification and calibration of infrastructure corporates under Solvency II

Further to a request by the European Commission in October 2015, EIOPA issued a consultation paper on 15 April 2016 setting out further technical advice on the identification and calibration of other infrastructure investment risk categories i.e. infrastructure corporates (the "Consultation Paper").

The Consultation Paper contained the analysis performed by EIOPA in respect of infrastructure corporates and the draft findings and proposals. The consultation period ended on 16 May 2016.

On 30 June 2016, EIOPA published its Final Report on the Consultation Paper (the "Final Report"). The Final Report contains EIOPA's final advice, summaries of the main feedback provided by stakeholders to the April 2016 consultation, the outcome of further analysis conducted by EIOPA, and the conclusions reached by EIOPA in respect of the consultation topics.

EIOPA recommends that the report should be read in conjunction with the Consultation Paper as it provides more detail on the rationale for some parts of the advice.

Some of the main recommendations and final advices contained in the Final Report include the following:

  • EIOPA recommends an equity risk charge of 36% for well diversified portfolios of infrastructure equity investments in infrastructure corporates that meet the specified requirements.
  • EIOPA recommends some revisions to the qualifying criteria for infrastructure projects to allow "project like" corporates to qualify for the risk charges of infrastructure projects according to the Solvency II Delegated Regulation (2015/35/EU);
  • EIOPA recommends new criteria to identify a class of qualifying infrastructure corporate equities; and
  • EIOPA recommends carrying out adequate due diligence prior to making a qualifying infrastructure investment and sets out the specific requirements for investments in qualifying infrastructure projects.

The Final Report indicated that the advice would be submitted to the Commission by the end of June 2016.

The Final Report is available via the following link:

(vi) Solvency II Information Note 9 – Look-through of collective investment undertakings template S.06.03

On 15 April 2016, the Central Bank published the Solvency II Information Note 9 on the Look-through of Collective Investment Undertakings ("CIUs") template S.06.03 (the "Information Note") which sets out the Central Bank's position regarding the completion of the template where an undertaking is experiencing difficulty in providing the detail required by the template.

The Information Note was published in response to a question in EIOPA's Q&A document relating to template S.06.03 where EIOPA answers that all CIUs have to be subject to a look-through but that specific situations might be discussed with the "National Supervisory Authorities".

The Central Bank's position is that all undertakings should make every effort to provide a full look-through of their CIUs when completing template S.06.03. However, where it can be demonstrated that the undertaking has made every effort but their completion of the template would not meet the expectations set out in the ITS, then for Quarter 1, 2016 reporting:

  • Undertakings should complete the template using the best available data;
  • Submit a narrative which contains details of the problems they have experienced and the proportion of investments affected by these problems; and
  • The approach they have taken to completing the template for Quarter 1.

Undertakings must also submit a proposal outlining how they plan to address the problems being experienced in such a way as to ensure that the undertaking is fully compliant with the relevant Solvency II requirements including those relating to the Prudent Person principle and supervisory reporting from Quarter 2, 2016.

Where no such submission is made by the undertaking, the Central Bank will work on the basis that the undertaking has assessed that it has provided a fully compliant look-through of all CIUs within the Quarter 1 template.

The Central Bank notes in the Information Note that it does not intend to provide guidance on what constitutes CIUs or on the meaning of materiality in the context of disclosing CIUs within CIUs. The Information Note can be accessed via the following link: Solvency%20II%20Information%20Note%209%20%E2%80%93%20Look-through%20of%20Collective%20Investment %20Undertakings%20in%20template%20S.06.03.pdf

(vii) Central Bank publishes 'Day One' Opening Balance Sheet Reconciliation Reporting template: Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs")

On 16 April 2016, the Central Bank published the 'Day One' Opening Balance Sheet Reconciliation Reporting template FAQs. In addition to the previous letters and correspondence issued by the Central Bank, this FAQs document provides further information for life and non-life (re)insurance firms on the 'Day One' Opening Balance Sheet Reconciliation Reporting template . The FAQs document covers queries received directly from firms and includes the points that were covered in its correspondence dated 16 March 2016. The Central Bank will update the document on an ad-hoc basis to provide clarification on further queries raised by firms.

The FAQs document is structured into sections comprising General, Non-life insurance, Life insurance, Reinsurance and Group sections.

The Central Bank notes that the FAQs document does not constitute legal advice and should be read in conjunction with the relevant legislation that applies in respect of this 'Day One' Reporting requirement as outlined in Article 314 of the Commission Delegated Regulation 2015/35/EU.

The FAQs document can be found at the following link: FAQ%20for%20Quantitative%20Opening%20Balance%20Sheet%20Reconciliation.pdf

(viii) EIOPA consults on methodology to derive ultimate forward rate ("UFR") under Solvency II

On 20 April 2016, EIOPA published the Consultation Paper on the methodology to derive the UFR and its implementation (the "Consultation Paper").

The Consultation Paper seeks feedback on the methodology to derive the UFR referred to in Article 77a of the Solvency II Directive. It is part of EIOPA's review of the UFR methodology which started in May 2015.

The Consultation Paper sets out the reasons for reviewing the UFR methodology. To achieve the objective of policyholder protection under Solvency II the UFR needs to be chosen appropriately. The Solvency II Delegated Regulation provides that the UFR must be determined in a transparent, prudent, reliable, objective manner that is consistent over time.

The Consultation Paper notes that the current UFRs were initially derived in 2010 for the purpose of the fifth Quantitative Impact Study for Solvency II ("QIS5"). The description of the derivation of the UFRs was included in a background paper on QIS5 and EIOPA notes that this description does not constitute a specified methodology as it is not fully clear how the derivation approach will be applied on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, the current UFRs were determined before the derivation was specified in the Solvency II Delegated Regulation and the review should align with the methodology to the legal provisions where necessary. EIOPA is aware of stakeholders' concern that the current UFRs are too high while other stakeholders seem to favour keeping the UFR constant in the foreseeable future. However, where the expectations on long-term interest rates change, this approach is not in line with the description of the UFR in the Delegated Regulation.

The Consultation Paper includes a proposal for:

  • The UFR methodology and its implementation;
  • A reasoned explanation of the proposal;
  • An analysis of the impact of changing the UFR on the risk-free interest rates, the time value of money and on the present value of insurance cash-flows.

EIOPA welcomes comments on the Consultation Paper by 18 July 2016 and the outcome of the review will be decided in September 2016. The current UFRs will not be changed until at least the end of 2016.

The Consultation Paper and the template for comments can be accessed via the following link: RFR%20CP%20on%20methodology%20to%20derive%20the%20UFR%20(after%20BoS).pdf

(ix) EIOPA publishes final report on the development of an EU single market for personal pension products

On 27 April 2016, EIOPA published the Final Report on Public Consultation (CP-15/006) on the creation of a standardised Pan-European Personal Pension product ("PEPP") (the "Final Report").

This Final Report provides:

  • A summary of Stakeholder feedback received during the Public Consultation between July and October 2015; and
  • How EIOPA addressed the feedback in its final advice on PEPP of February 2016, after having analysed and weighed this feedback.

An analysis of the feedback received during the consultation confirmed EIOPA's views that a standardised PEPP with a defined set of regulated, standardised elements, including some flexible ones, would be best placed to support sustainable pensions via personal pension savings. The PEPP should be safe, cost-effective, transparent and sufficiently flexible to accommodate the current economic and labour market environment in Europe and be complementary to the 1st and 2nd pillar pensions systems in Member States. EIOPA supports strengthening all 3 pension pillars that support Europeans in providing for an adequate retirement income.

The Final Report can be accessed via the following link:

On 27 April 2016, Insurance Europe issued a position paper on the Pan-European Personal Pension Products (the "Position Paper") which comments on EIOPA's Final Report.

In this Position Paper, Insurance Europe welcomes the discussion around PEPPs as a means to potentially increase the volume of private pensions sold and better allocate funds towards long-term investments. However, the Position Paper notes certain EU insurer's reservations over the PEPP design and that EIOPA's proposal does not give proper consideration to key product features that to date have proven instrumental in providing EU citizens with tailored retirement solutions.

The Position Paper can be accessed via the following link:

(x) EIOPA publishes updated Solvency II Q&A documents

During Quarter 2, 2016, EIOPA published Q&A's on the following:

  • Risk-free interest rate – Extrapolation (Published 1 April 2016);
  • Guidelines on submission of information to NCAs (Preparatory phase) (Published 1 April 2016);
  • Guidelines on group solvency (Published 27 April 2016);
  • Guidelines on recognition and valuation of assets and liabilities other than technical provisions (Published 20 May 2016);
  • Guidelines on the treatment of market and counterparty risk exposures in the standard formula (Published 20 May 2016);
  • Final report on the ITS on procedures, formats and templates of the solvency and financial condition report (CP-14-055)(Published 6 June 2016).

The EIOPA Q&A's can be accessed via the following link:

(xi) Central Bank publishes Statistics National Specific Template 13 (NST.13) - Notes on Compilation

On 3 May 2016, the Central Bank published the updated Notes on Compilation for Statistics National Specific Template 13 (NST.13) (the "NST.13 Notes"). In order to meet the requirements of the ECB Securities Holdings Statistics Regulation (ECB/2012/24), the Central Bank is collecting the NST.13 data to reconcile differences in the reporting of Statistical and Supervisory data by giving a head office/non-resident branch split.

The NST.13 Notes include the following:

  • An Introduction to the NST.13 template which provides details on valuation, reporting currency, the basis of reporting, the reporting frequency, the basis of collection, Solvency II QRT Data and NST.13 and Reporting Population;
  • Some clarification on queries raised since the NST.13 Notes were first published;
  • Definitions of entry fields; and
  • A worked example for (re)insurance undertakings which shows how the data in the SE.06.02 and NST.13 templates are related and goes on to show how to compile and split the data to meet the requirements of NST.13 template.

The updated NST.13 Notes can be accessed via the following link:

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