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European Parliament Backs New Rules for Insurance Sector

Posted on 23 Apr 2009

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The European Commission announced on Wednesday that backing from the European Parliament for an overhaul of the European insurance industry paves the way for the new Solvency II system to take effect in 2012.

The revised laws will better protect policy holders and ensure national regulators cooperate closely on scrutiny of multinational insurers, the commission said.

"Solvency II will help protect policy holders from bad practice. It will help shield our economies against a repeat of the disastrous excessive risk taking by financial institutions, including certain insurance operators, that has contributed to the global crisis," said Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, welcoming the parliamentary backing.

The highly complex legislation updates 14 old laws with a single new one.

It requires insurers and reinsurers to take better account of the different types of risk they are exposed to, so as to ensure they have sufficient capital to withstand adverse events, such as floods and storms.

The plan will now go back to E.U. finance ministers for rubber-stamping.