The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has published its Annual Report 2021, setting out its activities and achievements of the past year.
The year 2021 continued under the influence of COVID-19 pandemic. EIOPA carried out a demanding Annual Work Programme and welcomed Petra Hielkema in September 2021 as Chairperson for a five year mandate.
In 2021, consumer protection remained a priority, and EIOPA responded to concerns surrounding some unit-linked products with a framework to address value for money issues. In the course of the year, EIOPA made significant use of its powers in conduct of business supervision using product intervention measures and a range of supervisory and oversight tools, such as consumer trends and market monitoring work, as well as active engagement with and visits to national competent authorities (NCAs) and third-country parties.
In the area of insurance supervision, EIOPA issued a set of criteria for the independence of supervisory authorities, a key tool to ensure the legitimacy and credibility of the supervisory process.
Fit-for-purpose regulation is the foundation upon which effective supervision is built and in this regard, EIOPA broadly welcomed the proposals of the European Commission on the review of Solvency II and continues to support the review process.
Sustainable finance and digitalisation continued to dominate the agenda. EIOPA maintained its focus on supporting the sectors and the supervisory community manage the transition to the green and digital economy. An example in this regard is EIOPA’s opinion setting out expectations on the supervision of the integration of climate change risk scenarios by insurers in their Own Risk and Solvency Assessment (ORSA).
From a financial stability perspective, EIOPA continued to identify trends and potential risks and vulnerabilities that could have an adverse effect on the pension and insurance sectors across Europe. The insurance stress test exercise, that focused on a prolonged COVID-19 scenario in a “lower for longer” interest rate environment, was a key tool to test the resilience of the sector. Moreover, the European Systemic Risk Assessment Framework (SRAF) that EIOPA developed, will give EIOPA and its members a better view on European insurance trends, developments and potential systemic risk.
In the area of pensions, EIOPA welcomed the entry into force of the regulation for a pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP). Furthermore, EIOPA submitted to the European Commission its advice on setting-up pensions dashboards and tracking systems to further address pension gaps.
Looking ahead, as the uncertainty continues, EIOPA will continue to monitor the markets closely, to support the recovery and build on green and digital transitions.