Global insurance industry encourages enhanced regulatory cooperation



    TORONTO, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - Fifteen associations representing the vast
majority of the global insurance business, including North America, Europe,
Asia, Australia and South Africa, presented a unified statement to the annual
meeting of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) in
Budapest, Hungary last week.
    "Insurance associations around the world wanted to make a clear statement
to regulators about the need for a common approach to the regulation of
insurance companies. This is the first time that insurance associations have
come together in such numbers to take a common position," said Frank Swedlove,
President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.
    The statement highlights the fact that international insurance companies
should be regulated with enhanced cooperation amongst supervisors using a
group-wide approach to supervision. It also emphasizes the need to maintain
the trend towards risk-sensitive regulation, and that the level of prudential
regulation should reflect the insurer's level of risk and diversification.
    With respect to Canadian life and health insurers, the industry remains
sound and well capitalized. This was reflected in remarks made by the federal
Minister of Finance in his October 10 statement in response to the global
financial turmoil. With assets of more than $430 billion in Canada, minimal
exposure to distressed asset classes and a comparably more robust Canadian
market than elsewhere in the world, Canada's life and health insurers rank
among the strongest financially both nationally and internationally, and are
well positioned to meet their obligations to their policyholders despite the
current market turmoil.

    Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member
companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance
business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products
such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and
supplementary health insurance to about 26 million Canadians.

    Additional Resources: Canadian Life and Health Insurance Industry Fact
Sheet (http://www.clhia.ca/download/Oct23_2008_Fact_Sheet.pdf)
    See below for the international insurance associations' Statement to the
IAIS.

    
                 STATEMENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
                           OF INSURANCE SUPERVISORS

                                                             16 October 2008
    

    A stable insurance sector

    At the annual meeting of the International Association of Insurance
Supervisors (IAIS) the undersigned insurance associations discussed
developments affecting the insurance industry across the world in the light of
the current financial crisis.
    Insurance associations around the globe agreed that overall the insurance
industry entered the crisis in a strong position and has shown resilience to
the continuing shocks to the financial system. This resilience seen to date
reflects the strength of the insurance business model and the increasing
attention paid by insurance regulators to fostering risk based supervision.

    
    Key principles: Policyholder protection & enhanced risk based supervisory
    coordination

    Looking ahead the global insurance industry believes that insurance
regulation should therefore continue to be based on certain key principles. We
believe that the maintenance and strengthening of these principles is the best
basis for protecting policyholders on an ongoing basis.

    -   The insurance industry shares the regulators' objective of protecting
        policyholders.
    -   International insurance companies should be regulated with enhanced
        cooperation amongst supervisors and group-wide supervision.
    -   Supervisory authorities should strengthen their ability to cooperate
        in identifying emerging problems and in using their existing powers
        in an efficient and appropriate way to safeguard policyholders and
        beneficiaries.
    -   The insurance industry encourages the continuing trend towards risk-
        sensitive regulation.
    -   The level of prudential requirements should reflect the level of risk
        and diversification.
    -   The insurance industry believes that regulation should encourage
        competition.

    The insurance industry stands ready to work with the supervisory
authorities to develop and foster these principles.

    Endorsed by:
    ACLI - American Council of Life Insurers
    ABIR - Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers
    ABI - Association of British Insurers
    AIA - American Insurance Association
    ASISA - Association of Savings & Investment of South Africa
    CEA - European Insurance and Reinsurance Federation
    CLHIA - Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association
    DIMA - Dublin International Insurance & Management Association
    GIAJ - General Insurance Association of Japan
    ICA - Insurance Council of Australia
    KLIA - Korea Life Insurance Association
    PCI - Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
    RAA - Reinsurance Association of America
    SAIA - South African Insurance Association
    VVN - Association of Dutch Insurers
    





For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Wendy Hope, Vice President,
External Relations, (416) 777-2221


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