EU and US sign bilateral agreement on insurance and reinsurance

The EU and the US are today due to sign a landmark bilateral agreement on insurance and reinsurance. The signature marks the final step in more than 20 years of discussions and a year of formal negotiations between the European Commission and the US Department of the Treasury and Office of the Trade Representative. The agreement will boost consumer protection and cut costs and red tape for EU insurers and reinsurers active in the US. In their joint statement, the EU and the US said: “The Agreement represents a major step forward in U.S.- EU cooperation on insurance and reinsurance, conveying benefits to EU and U.S. insurers and reinsurers operating across the Atlantic, by offering them enhanced regulatory certainty, while maintaining robust consumer protections.” In line with the objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe and the Capital Markets Union, the agreement will enable reinsurers to boost their investment capacity. EU reinsurers estimate that they have about $40 billion of collateral posted in the US, which could instead be invested to create jobs and growth. The opportunity cost is estimated at around $400 million per year. The Agreement will enhance consumer protection by facilitating the exchange of information between EU and US supervisors. The Agreement also brings prudential benefits: for instance, EU insurers and reinsurers will have to prepare only one risk and solvency assessment (ORSA) in light of their specific risk profile. This assessment will also be used by US supervisors. The signature allows parts of the Agreement to become immediately applicable on a provisional basis. The European Parliament and the Council will need to approve the conclusion of the Agreement.See also MEMO