-- Aviva CEO says many issues surrounding Solvency II "still up in the air"
-- Major European insurers voice concerns to Members of the European Parliament
-- Aviva committed to remain in the U.K., says CEO
By Vladimir Guevarra
The scheduled implementation of a transitional "soft launch" of the upcoming Solvency II capital regime for insurers in January 2013 "is still possible, but it's getting more difficult every day," Aviva PLC (AV.LN) Chief Executive Andrew Moss said Thursday.
"There are so many factors at the moment. If it's going to be fully implemented in 2014, they [European lawmakers] would have to do it very quickly. Nearly everything is still up in the air. It's genuinely very difficult to tell," Moss told Dow Jones Newswires.
Moss' comments come a week after Peter Skinner, a Member of the European Parliament who also sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, said he is confident a soft launch for Solvency II could be implemented as scheduled in January next year.
A soft launch means that the responsibilities of country supervisors relating to Solvency II will start Jan. 1, 2013, with implementation by insurance companies coming after that, likely in 2014.
Moss told reporters that the Pan-European Insurance Forum earlier this week sent a letter to MEPs, "showing a united front," and expressing their concern over any delay in implementing Solvency II.
The PEIF is a group of CEOs of major insurance companies in Europe, including Aegon NV (AEG), Allianz SE (>> Allianz SE), Aviva, AXA SA (>> AXA), Generali SpA (>> Assicurazioni Generali SpA), ING Groep NV (ING), Mapfre SA(>> Mapfre SA), Munich Re (MUV2.XE), RSA Insurance Group PLC (>> RSA Insurance Group plc), Swiss Re AG (SREN.VX), Uniqa and Zurich Financial Services AG (ZURN.VX).
"Clearly, we are in an intensely political phase. We were always going to go through that phase but it does mean nearly everything in the text is being thrown up in the air as we understand it at this point," Moss said.
"The next few weeks, into months probably, will be an important time. But I think on the whole, the industry is crying for certainty on this. We want to get on with our lives. It's been nearly 10 years in the making and the uncertainty doesn't do anybody any good," he said.
Moss also said that Aviva will not move its headquarters out of the U.K. no matter how Solvency II turns out.
"We're extremely committed to the U.K. More than 40% of our profits come from the U.K. market. We love the U.K. We have 14 million customers here and we have 17,000 people serving those customers," he said.
"If Aviva was redomiciled, we'll be turning the lights out...The rest of the City would have left first," he said.
The comments come after Prudential PLC (>> Prudential plc) recently said it is looking into whether it should move its headquarters away from London due in part to the uncertainties around Solvency II.
- By Vladimir Guevarra, Dow Jones Newswires. Tel. +44 (0) 2078429486, email@example.com
Stocks mentioned in the article : Mapfre SA
, ING GROEP
, Assicurazioni Generali SpA
, Allianz SE
, Muenchener Rueckversicherungs-Ges. AG
, Zurich Financial Services
, UNIQA Versicherungen
, Swiss Re Ltd
, Prudential plc
, RSA Insurance Group plc