axa presentation 8may2007

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Published on January 2, 2008

Author: Alexan

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Slide1:  European Parliament Financial Services Forum Solvency 2 Summary:  1 : Solvency 2 is an important piece of legislation for the European Economy 2 : Solvency 2 will be a political success under specific conditions 3 : Consequences of an uneconomic supervision would be heavy for all stakeholders 4 : The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time 5 : Strong political orientations must be given by the legislator Summary Solvency 2 is an important piece of legislation for the European Economy:  Solvency 2 is an important piece of legislation for the European Economy Solvency 2 addresses two different objectives: To protect policyholders from the Insurance Industry’s insolvency; and To ensure an economic optimum for all the stakeholders of the Insurance Industry Consumers Employees Public Authorities Investors. Both objectives are compatible because Solvency 2 brings more security which is: vital for the Policyholders; and compatible with an economic optimum for all stakeholders of the Insurance Industry. It will directly impact many aspects of the European Economy as much as the Insurance Industry. Therefore it implies a strong political involvement in order to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are taken into account. The Insurance Industry fully supports Solvency 2 as: it will foster innovation; and the European market might gain a decisive competitive advantage Solvency 2 will be a political success under specific conditions:  Solvency 2 will be a political success under specific conditions Capital requirements are based on an Economic basis. It means an optimal price/coverage ratio for insurance products resulting in: the maximisation of the volume of risks transferred from individuals and businesses to insurers with more security for a given amount of capital immobilised; and a larger capacity for insurers to take risk and more appetite for innovation. New risk mitigation techniques (hedging, securitisation, hybrid capital, risk assessment based on internal models, etc) are recognised. This would allow the Insurance Industry: to transfer more risks to financial markets with more capacity for the Insurance Industry to absorb risks from Society (e.g environmental risks); and To leverage product innovation to meet consumer and social needs (in pensions, health). Risk diversification (lines of business, markets, etc) is fully taken into account. For a given amount of risk, diversification will reduce regulatory capital requirements with positive impact for the competitiveness of the Insurance Industry, shareholders, employees and customers. The supervision is driven at the Group level. It relies upon: a full harmonisation of solvency rules and standards at the European level; and a lead supervisor and enhanced cooperation/coordination between supervisors. Consequences of an uneconomic supervision would be heavy for all stakeholders:  Consequences of an uneconomic supervision would be heavy for all stakeholders Solvency 2 reform would be severely endangered with Excessive capital requirements; Short-sighted view of the calibration of equity risks; Ignorance of cutting-edge risk management and financial innovation; Limitation of transnational diversification benefits; and Large flexibility given to local supervision to “gold-plate” the directive with local regulations. Solvency 2 failure would have incommensurate consequences compared to a remote risk of insolvency of the European Insurance Industry. Main risks are: For Society: a shortage of coverage when the gap between public capacity and demand for protection is increasing (Pension, Health, long term care, professional liability, environmental risks, etc). For individuals: increased prices, under-insurance or lack of coverage. For the Insurance Industry: lack of innovation, job losses, domination by non-EU groups. For the financial markets: shortage of long term holders of assets which would prejudice long term protection needs (pension) and innovation. Europe as a single market not becoming a reality. The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (1/3):  The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (1/3) The drafting of the directive by the European Commission has led to a broad and effective consultation process with the Insurance Industry. In line with the Lamfalussy procedure, most of the main technical components of the Solvency 2 reform are managed separately from the directive through the Quantitative Impact Studies (QIS) exercise. The QIS are used to experiment and refine the calibration of solvency requirements. The QIS exercise creates more discomfort. It follows a different timetable. There is no validation process between the successive steps and it is not clear how lessons learned from one QIS are reflected in the next round of QIS. Despite some improvement in the 3rd round of QIS there are still many uncertainties which should be resolved to avoid a gap between the satisfactory orientations of the directive and its application. The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (2/3):  The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (2/3) Strengths of the directive: Solvency 2 follows a risk based economic supervision approach; Solvency 2 will favour the development of high quality risk management; The Group supervision is regarded as the relevant level for solvency assessment and supervision. Subgroups are not relevant; and Focus on group Solvency Capital Requirement (SCR) under the responsibility of the lead supervisor. Group diversification is taken into account while local capital level is allowed to move lower than local SCR. Difference between local capital level and local SCR is provided by Group support. The main uncertainties are related to group issues A too high Minimum Capital Requirement (MCR), supervised at the local level, would strongly reduce the benefits of diversification and related possibility of Group support. Ideally MCR should be calculated as a percentage of the SCR and not in a modular approach. The possibility offered to the local supervisor to ask to the Group a formal external guarantee is hazardous in many ways : transfer of risks, availability and costs… Possibility of quantitative restrictions concerning eligible assets at national level The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (3/3):  The present draft and preparation process give a preliminary view of strengths and weaknesses of the project at this time (3/3) Very good dialogue between the Industry and the Commission resulted in some improvements in QIS 3: Level of equity charge lowered from 40% to 32%. Adjustment of correlations between equity and bonds; Possibility to modulate capital charge in function of duration (13% over 10 years); and Lowering of calibration for Health business. But there is still a lot to worry about over the outcome of the QIS: Calibration of P&C risks induces a steep rise in requirements. Total requirements for motor insurance, a low volatility business, would be at 26% of premiums in QIS 3. For long-tail risks, this impact is much higher. SCR calculation is only based on European entities. It will penalise European Groups against international competition. Calibration of real estate remains at a high level (20%). Introduction of spread risk (in QIS 2 only default risk was considered), much higher than Basel II. Technical provisions are calculated with a market value margin (MVM) calculated using a cost of capital approach. This is the right approach. But if capital requirements are set too high, the MVM (and consequently provisions) will be too high. No account taken of the diversification effect between lines of business. Strong political orientations must be given by the legislator:  Strong political orientations must be given by the legislator European Parliament should give clear political mandates to the supervisory authorities. Without strong political guidance, there is a risk that the CEIOPS goes beyond its role of “technical advisor” to the Commission for the level 2 to impose an excessive prudential approach which will deeply distort the political content of the reform and may negatively impact the customers. The following elements, of political importance, should be defined at the directive level: A full harmonisation of the level of confidence, i.e. capital requirements, including procedure for exceptional add-ons, eligible capital, investment rules; A strong guidance on the overall level of requirements, which should be unchanged compared to Solvency 1, in terms of capital surplus; The process of Group and solo supervision, defining a clear split of responsibilities, and focusing on consolidated approach for Group; The full recognition of Group diversification; Specific guidance on key political issues, such as the treatment of equities; Detailed methodology to calculate standard SCR and MCR; and Definition of a cap to the MCR (i.e. MCR < x% of SCR). Level 2 implementation measures are of major importance and should be closely followed by political stakeholders, as it is often the case for Lamfalussy directives (MiFid). The directive should not be applicable until a consensus is reached concerning the implementation measures, especially calibration. Slide10:  Thanks

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