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FSA talks contract certainty with regulators


BRUSSELS, Belgium—The London-based Financial Services Authority is working with European and U.S. insurance buyers and regulators to ensure that its tough new contract certainty targets for the United Kingdom market do not result in an "uneven playing field" for the companies it regulates.

John King, manager of the regional broker team at the FSA, told delegates at a Fédération Européen de Risk Management Associations seminar in Brussels that it is keen to ensure that the U.K. approach to contract certainty does not result in excessive gold plating and disadvantage UK companies.

"We are discussing this with our fellow regulators wherever possible to ensure that the global insurance industry is mobilized into action and the U.K. market gets the benefit of greater efficiency without losing out to competitive markets as brokers take their business to markets where it is less effort—but not necessarily safer or more efficient—to do business," said Mr. King.

"These efforts extend to our discussions with insurance buyers in Europe and the U.S.—having achieved so much in the U.K., we are keen to share our experiences and influence across the global insurance market. It's one of the reasons I am here today," he continued.

Pascal Richard, risk manager with Société Général Group and chairman of the French risk management association Association pour le Management des Risques et des Assurances de l'Entreprise, said that his experience showed that contract certainty can be achieved outside of London without regulatory force and challenged fellow risk managers in Europe to follow suit.

He explained that, as a bank, Société Général is regulated by the Basle II capital adequacy regime that requires negotiations of insurance contracts to be completed three months before the renewal date. He said that this year he had managed to achieve that. "Why is it that we have succeeded to do this, because of Basle II, when other companies cannot manage to do it?," he said.