EIOPA issued a statement to insurers and intermediaries, urging them to take steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on consumers. These steps include providing clear and timely information to consumers, keeping consumers informed about contingency measures taken, continuing to apply product oversight and governance requirements, and exercising flexibility in the treatment of consumers where practical. Additionally, in view of COVID-19, the Romanian Supervisory Authority and EIOPA decided to postpone the start of the Balance Sheet Review of the Romanian insurance sector. The exercise was originally expected to be performed in the second semester of the year 2020.
EIOPA welcomes the initiatives already taken by insurers and intermediaries to support and assist consumers, along with the consideration being shown toward consumers affected by COVID-19, including those who are particularly vulnerable. It is critical that insurers and intermediaries continue focusing on ensuring business continuity and the fair treatment of consumers. While highlighting the need for flexibility in the interest of consumers and for their continued fair treatment, EIOPA also highlights that imposing retroactive coverage of claims not envisaged within contracts could create material solvency risks and ultimately threaten policyholder protection. EIOPA expects all market participants to continue to act in the best interests of consumers, throughout the life cycle of their relationship with the consumer. This is in line with the requirements on policyholder protection set out in relevant legislation such as the Insurance Distribution Directive (2016/97) and the Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC). This call to action follows the publication of a statement on actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the EU insurance sector and also follows the recommendations on supervisory flexibility regarding deadlines of supervisory reporting and public disclosure by insurers.
Keywords: Europe, EU, Insurance, COVID-19, Business Continuity, Systemic Risk, Solvency II, Insurance Distribution Directive, Balance Sheet Review, Romania, EIOPA
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