Global Insurance Watchdog Reviews Impact Of COVID-19

Law360, London (March 16, 2020, 3:23 PM GMT) -- A global standard-setting body for the insurance industry has set out a series of new arrangements for 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including an assessment on the pandemic's impact on individual jurisdictions.

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors said Friday said it is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that has caused more than 6,500 deaths worldwide as the governments across the world try to contain it.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation and update members and stakeholders on any further steps being taken,” the watchdog said.

The global regulator is increasing remote working and cancelling all working group meetings. It will also postpone registration for a conference it plans to hold in June.

IAIS Secretary General Jonathan Dixon said the watchdog will launch a survey of its members to collect information about how the virus has impacted different jurisdictions so far.

The survey will also ask members to detail the regulatory responses they have put into place or are considering. IAIS will also “facilitate ongoing information sharing and cooperation among supervisors” as the virus spreads.

The group’s executive committee met on Feb. 26 to discuss the impact of the virus on the global insurance sector and think about the best supervisory response.

The executive committee will meet again at the end of March to review the survey results and discuss the plan for the rest of 2020.

Regulators across the U.K and Europe are taking steps to ease the massive impact the novel coronavirus is expected to have on the financial system.

The European Banking Authority said Friday that it is delaying this year's biennial stress test for banks until 2021 to allow lenders to focus on their operations and support their customers during the pandemic. 

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on Friday temporarily banned the short selling of more than 150 Spanish and Italian stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange, including banks, luxury car maker Ferrari and the Juventus football club.

The European Central Bank on Thursday relaxed a number of capital requirements for EU banks to offset the impact that the coronavirus is having on the economy.

The Bank of England a day earlier temporarily lifted the requirement that banks keep emergency capital buffers, releasing £190 billion for banks to lend to businesses.

--Additional reporting by Joanne Faulkner and Najiyya Budaly. Editing by Rebecca Flanagan.

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