Solvency II equivalence finally official

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It’s official: Bermuda has Solvency II third-country equivalency, as of today.

That means the European Union considers the standard of the island’s insurance regulation to be equivalent to its own.

In November last year, the European Commission recommended that Bermuda should be considered as in line with the tough new insurance rules being adopted across the 28-country bloc.

A 90-day consultation period that gave member countries and the European Parliament the chance to have their say has now passed. On March 4, the EC’s delegated decision on Bermuda’s equivalence with Solvency II was laid out in detail in the Official Journal of the European Union. Now that 20 days have passed since the date of publication in the Journal, confirmation of Bermuda’s new status is complete.

Solvency II equivalence means that commercial insurers and reinsurers based in Bermuda will not be competitively disadvantaged when they do business in the European Union.

The news represents a significant achievement for Bermuda’s financial-services regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which has worked and lobbied for more than six years to achieve the goal.

In an interview today, Jeremy Cox, chief executive officer of the BMA, paid tribute to his “tenacious team”, as well as the industry leaders and politicians who had helped to make it happen. A full story on the interview will appear in Monday’s Business section of The Royal Gazette.

The BMA also released its 2016 Business Plan today. In his introduction, Mr Cox stressed that equivalence confirmation did not mean the BMA would suddenly have a lot of spare time on its hands.

“Securing equivalence was clearly a major achievement, a powerful example of what can be accomplished with a strong, tenacious team that embarked on the road to equivalence in 2010,” Mr Cox said.

“But equivalence is an interim objective, rather than an end in itself, and should be viewed in the wider context of our vision and strategic goals.”

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