Download the conference summary
Insurance and Pensions Reloaded: A Game Changer
Europe's insurance and pensions sector needs to move towards a
European supervisory culture that acknowledges specific national characteristics and facilitates innovation. More awareness of the opportunities and challenges being brought about by the digital revolution is needed, while a market for Pan-European Pension Products (PEPP) merits serious consideration.
These were some of the key messages to come out of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)'s seventh annual conference, held on 22 November in Frankfurt, Germany. Over 350 participants from the financial services industry, government institutions and supervisory authorities attended the day-long event, which included contributions from European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Banque de France Governor François Villeroy de Galhau and Sophie in 't Veld MEP, as well as audience participation in the form of interactive polls.
Watch Valdis Dombrovskis’s opening remarks:
Towards supervisory convergence
EIOPA Chairman Gabriel Bernardino used his
keynote speech to stress that "our supervisory convergence agenda is focused on building common standards and interpretations. We strongly welcome the European Commission's proposal for a review of the EIOPA Regulation, and believe that a stronger mandate is a step in the right direction".
Watch Gabriel Bernardino’s keynote address:
Despite challenges and obstacles, an expert panel agreed that Europe in the post-financial crisis era was on the right track towards supervisory convergence. "We need to coordinate so we can move forward as a group," said Patrick Hoedjes, Head of Oversight and Supervisory Convergence Department at EIOPA. "We will always be a union of very different countries working together."
Watch the panel discussion:
Innovation and consumer protection
François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of Banque de France, opened the afternoon session by focusing on three kinds of innovation: institutional, economic, technological. While the digital revolution requires an overhaul of customer relations and user habits, insurance can bring stability and protection. "A balance must be found between the market segmentation that big data makes possible and the solidarity and mutualisation that are the core of the insurance sector," he said.
Watch François Villeroy de Galhau’s keynote address:
During the following expert roundtable discussion, Katja Würtz, Head of Consumer Protection at EIOPA, noted that "for supervisors, timeframes are so short because of the speed of development. This is a learning curve for us as well."
Watch the panel discussion on innovation and regulation:
Pan-European Pension Products
A third expert panel discussed how PEPP can work for European citizens. Martin Parkes, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy at BlackRock, said that PEPP could be part of the solution for Europe to meet its savings gap. "Keep it simple and ensure that consumers feel they own it," he advised.
Bernardino told delegates that PEPP can "contribute towards a stable and strong insurance sector that adequately prices risks, applies robust risk management strategies and treats customers fairly". He added that "EIOPA can play a key role in enabling consistent implementation to safeguard the proper use of the PEPP label and ensure high-quality PEPP throughout Europe".
Watch Sophie in ‘t Veld’s impulse statement and panel discussion:
In his closing remarks, Fausto Parente thanked staff, speakers and panellists. “There is a clear sense of urgency about what we do,” he said. “Supervisory convergence depends on the willingness of different players to converge.”
Watch Fausto Parente’s closing remarks:
The programme is available here