Equivalence

The Solvency II Directive recognises that the insurance industry is a global industry.

The European Commission may decide about the equivalence of a third country's solvency and prudential regime towards avoiding unnecessary duplication of regulation. EIOPA assists the European Commission in preparing equivalence decisions pertaining to supervisory regimes in third countries.

Positive equivalence findings are mutually beneficial to European Economic Area (EEA) (re)insurers and third country (re)insurers. Likewise, equivalence findings promote open international insurance markets, whilst simultaneously ensuring that policy holders are adequately protected globally.

Areas for equivalence assessment

Under Solvency II, there are three distinct areas for equivalence assessment:

Reinsurance (Article 172 of the Solvency II Directive):

Relevant for reinsurers from third countries. If the third country's rules are deemed equivalent, such reinsurers must be treated by EEA supervisors in the same way as the EEA reinsurers. This is also likely to increase the attractiveness for EEA insurers of entering into reinsurance arrangements with reinsurers from third countries.​

Solvency calculation (Article 227 of the Solvency II Directive):

Relevant for EEA insurers operating in a third country. A positive equivalence finding will allow EEA internationally active insurance groups to use the local rules relating to capital (own funds) and capital requirements rather than the Solvency II rules. This would relieve the related companies in the third country from having to recalculate their data in conformity with the Solvency II requirements.

Group supervision (Article 260 of the Solvency II Directive):

Relevant for insurers from third countries with activities in the EEA. If the third country's rules are deemed equivalent in this area, EEA supervisors will under certain conditions rely on the group supervision exercised by a third country. This would free the third country international groups from being subject to the unnecessary burdens arising from dual group supervision. 

Types of equivalence

There are three types of equivalence under Solvency II for​​ the three areas mentioned above, with the following characteristics:​

Full

Temporary

Provisional (1)

Can be determined for all 3 areas

Can be determined (if progress is being made towards full equivalence) for reinsurance (Art. 172.4) and third country groups operating in the EEA (Art. 260.5)​​

Can be determined (if progress is being made towards full equivalence) for EEA groups operating in the third jurisdiction (Art. 227.5)​​​

​For unlimited period​

​​For limited period (until 31/12/2020 with the possibility to extend by 1 year)​​​

For limited period (10 years, renewable for further 10-year periods)​​​.

Overview of equivalence decisions

Full

Temporary

Provisional (1)

Switzerland

Art. 172(2), 227(4), 260(3)

EC Delegated Decision of ​5 June 2015 ​

Japan (2)

Art. 172(4)

EC Delegated Decision of 26 November 2015​

Australia

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 12 June 2015​

Bermuda

Art. 172(2), 227(4), 260(3). Except for captives

EC Delegated Decision of 26 November 2015

 

Brazil

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 12 June 2015​

 

 

Canada

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 12 June 2015​

 

 

Japan

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 26 November 2015​

 

 

Mexico

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 12 June 2015​

 

 

USA

Art. 227(5)

EC Delegated Decision of 12 June 2015​

(1) granted for a period of 10 years (1 January 2026)

(2) ended on 31 December 2020