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IAIS update—25th annual general meeting

Insurance regulators move focus to technology, other emerging risks

Confidence and congratulations characterized this year’s annual IAIS meeting, as the Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (ComFrame) and the related insurance capital standard (ICS) neared completion.

Annual IAIS conference attendance a nod to IAIS global leadership

Citing robust attendance at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) annual conference as a testament to the global leadership role of the IAIS in standard-setting, IAIS secretary-general Jonathan Dixon kicked off the IAIS 25th Annual General Meeting at the European Conference Center in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

This year’s annual IAIS conference focused on emerging risks, particularly around technology and insurance cybersecurity, signaling that the pivot from solvency regulation is well underway. While solvency measures will continue, the theme of this annual general meeting of the international organization of insurance supervisors and regulators was forward-looking: reimagining insurance. IAIS leadership explained that the IAIS will take on new functions in a world a decade removed from the financial crisis, including more emphasis on implementation and assessment of supervisory authorities formerly associated with the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP).

At an IAIS global seminar in Moscow earlier this year, leadership indicated that the post-financial crisis work of resetting solvency regulations for insurers was largely done and emerging risks such as technology, climate risk, and inclusion would be priorities in the five-year plan for IAIS. That message came through loud and clear at the annual IAIS conference.

Highlights of sessions at the 2018 IAIS annual conference

Finance minister: Digital economy, climate change are game changers

Pierre Gramegna, keynote speaker and minister of finance of the host country Luxembourg, stressed the importance of international insurance regulation, especially given the broad implications of the digital economy and climate change for the world and particularly for insurers. The finance minister pointed out that the insurance industry will be transformed more than most industries by climate change and that insurance is one of few industries with the big numbers and investments to address it successfully.

IAIS: ComFrame, ICS, ICP development work proceeding

As the 2019 implementation of ComFrame and ICS v 2.0 draws closer, work continued at the IAIS on necessary regulatory changes, IAIS Policy Development Committee chair Elise Liebers told the IAIS Major Project Update session. The session provided an overview of completed items, revision details, and a recap of ongoing development work. The project remains on track for adoption of ComFrame, insurance core principles (ICPs), and ICS v 2.0 at the November 2019 IAIS annual meeting. Liebers also highlighted IAIS publications completed in 2018 and in progress, including papers on digitalization, cybersecurity, board composition and role, and recovery planning.

New macroprudential regime should touch more insurers

Macroprudential Committee (MPC) chair Alberto Corinti provided an overview of MPC efforts, specifically development of a holistic systemic risk framework less focused on size and more on potentially risky activity, wherever it might happen. The new holistic framework, approved in November, is designed to prevent systemic risk from materializing, identify the buildup of potential systemic risk, and mitigate risks should they materialize anyway. For 2019, the MPC will continue work on global monitoring, which will include annual data collection from individual insurers, data collection from supervisors on sector-wide trends, and data analysis by the IAIS to assess potential systemic risk.

Will “big data” protect or betray consumers?

The balance between innovation and consumer protection was a recurring theme at a panel session titled, “A Brave New World of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence—What It Means for the Insurance Sector and Insurance Supervision.” The panelists brought views from different countries and different areas of the industry, touching on key challenges and opportunities at the intersection of insurance and technology: From using big data in differential risk assessment and AI in customer interfaces to evaluating the impact of big data and the relationship between regulation and technology.

Does tech threaten market conduct supervision?

In what was billed as “A Supervisory Discussion of a Holistic Approach to Insurance Supervision—Making the Link between Prudential and Conduct of Business Supervision,” technology and data took center stage among the issues most pressing for regulators. A panel of industry advisors, commissioners, and consumer representatives weighed in on what they considered the major issues, including privacy, online distribution, insurance guaranty funds, distribution, data loss and abuse, market liquidity risk, risk resiliency, data use, and changing skill sets required of regulators.

Insurers must respond to climate change, protection gap

“We are at a tipping point and government is expecting us to step up and step in,” said panelist Francis Bouchard, representing the American Insurance Association at the “Climate Risk and Natural Catastrophes—Closing the Protection Gap” session. Panelists discussed the increase in climate risk and widening protection gap, noting that the insurance industry is taking a very different view of the protection gap, and for good reason: The 10-year average of insurer losses has been outpaced by the growth of economic losses. The panel session covered a broad range of related points, including public-private collaboration, increased access to and distribution of insurance products, improved product design, clear standards and regulatory consistency, and required mitigation, building standards, and zoning protocols. David Rule, executive director, Insurance Supervision, Bank of England, says climate change should be treated not as a corporate social responsibility issue, but as a core financial and strategic risk.

EU-US insurance project: Cyber tops EU-US agenda

“Cybersecurity Risks and Cyber Insurance Market: Insurance Supervision and Cyber Risks” was the leadoff topic at the EU-US Insurance Project held immediately after the IAIS meeting in Luxembourg. Regulators speaking on the panel agreed that insurance cybersecurity was of top importance, that regulators expected to see board involvement, and that cyber risk management should be fully integrated into enterprise risk management. The discussion ranged from possible reasons the US market for cyber insurance is much larger than Europe’s to inequality of weapons between cyber attackers and defenders. An EU regulator noted that, “We as an insurance industry wanting to underwrite this need to know (how to manage) security for emerging threats.”

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More about the annual IAIS conference

The annual IAIS Conference is the leading forum in the insurance sector worldwide, bringing together insurance supervisors, regulators, and business leaders from more than 200 jurisdictions for two days of presentations and networking. We invite you to read our complete update on this year’s sessions in Luxembourg and contact us to discuss the profound changes facing the insurance industry and the opportunities it presents to your organization.

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