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U.S., European regulators independent but take cues from each other

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. and international insurance regulatory systems are not converging, according to the director of the Federal Insurance Office on Thursday.

FIO Director Michael McRaith noted, however, that European and U.S. insurance regulators have learned from each other.

He said that U.S. insurance regulators have been influenced by the European Union’s Solvency II initiative by adopting practices like the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment approach, which requires insurance companies to issue their own assessment of their current and future risk through an internal risk self-assessment process, and that will allow regulators to form an enhanced view of an insurer’s ability to withstand financial stress. Mr. McRaith said that European regulators have adopted U.S. regulatory techniques, such comprehensive financial reporting for insurers.

Mr. McRaith, who was speaking at the Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University’s 12th annual insurance public policy summit in Washington, also noted that the Federal Insurance Office and the European Commission have been discussing so-called “covered agreements,” which are intended to level the playing field for U.S. underwriters operating in the E.U. He called the talks “positive and constructive.”