Interview with Gabriel Bernardino, Chairmen of EIOPA.
Without a doubt this is a challenging time for businesses and for people in Europe and around the world. Companies are having to radically adjust their business operations and people are having to cope with significant differences to their daily lives. There is also uncertainty surrounding the magnitude of economic disruption. The question remains: How long will COVID-19 continue to be a threat to public health, and when and how the restrictions will be listed?
The insurance sector must deal with challenges market conditions and with maintaining operations, alongside protecting employees and policyholders. The situation is similar for providers of occupational pensions who also have to maintain business continuity and manage operations risks. It is therefore important that all economic actors should not work together so that we can emerge from the crisis with the insurance and occupational pensions sectors well-equipped to rebound.
For EIOPA, mitigating the effects of COVID-19 is the top priority. EIOPA has been working closely with national authorities as part of their response and has also put in place measures that will help insurers to focus on ensuring business continuity in serving its customers. Measures include recommendations on supervisory flexibility regarding deadlines of supervisory reporting and public disclosure by insurers; so that they can be able to concentrate on monitoring and assessing the impact of COVID-19 and maintaining operations.
EIOPA is also extending deadlines, such as the Holistic Impact Assessment for the 2020 review of Solvency II.
Due to the overall uncertainty of the scale of the duration of this crisis, it is important that insurance companies preserve capital; therefore, EIOPA has urged insurers and reinsurers to adopt a prudent approach and should temporarily suspend all discretionary dividend distributions and share buy backs.
As well as dedicating considerable resources to monitoring and mitigating the effects of COVID-19, EIOPA is also able to continue working on other priorities, such as: the 2020 review of Solvency II, digitalisation, cyber risk & cyber insurance, sustainable finance and contributions to the Capital Markets Union.