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A closer look at Europe: European elections bring a special dynamic

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Next summer, the European Parliament elections will take place in 27 member states. What effect will these upcoming elections have on the ins and outs of Brussels? And what does this mean for the insurance industry lobby? Jochem van Stiphout, Europe lobbyist for the Dutch Association, updates us.

What's going on right now?

"A political agreement has been reached on combating money laundering. Parliamentarians and representatives of the Council Presidency have been working through the night to 'get it through' before the European elections. In the meantime, the European Commission is mainly looking ahead: Which problems are there and which are given priority? The Commission is also already starting to ask questions, for example how a certain law can be revised. This dichotomy creates a special dynamic; On the one hand, we are still working very hard to get things done before the elections, on the other hand, we are now in a brainstorming phase for the period after the elections."

"On the one hand, we are still working very hard to get things done before the elections, on the other hand, we are now in a brainstorming phase for the period after the elections."

Which files are currently being finalised in the field of insurance?

"The files that we are still working on at the moment are the revision of Solvency II and the Retail investment strategy. The focus here is on how consumers can be encouraged to take out investment products and what rules apply to this. In addition, we are in the process of finalising the AI Regulation and the Due Diligence Regulation, in which we consider what responsibility you have in this as an insurer.
FIDA is another process that we are working on. This concerns open data for insurers, where we think about how you can draw up rules about what data you can share with others in order to offer new services and products to customers. Some cases are also not being finalised, as many are already busy with the election process. So that leads to a six-month delay for some dossiers, but we can still complete most of the topics before the elections."

What are the themes that the European Commission is now exploring for the next mandate?

"We are thinking about the capital markets union. The Capital Markets Union makes it easier to invest in other EU countries. The rules for investing and investing in the different European countries are still very different from each other. The countries in the EU want to solve this by strengthening the European Capital Markets Union. In doing so, we think about alternative options. Now it is mainly the ball that is in the court of banks and governments, but private equity parties, insurers and pension funds can also play a greater role within the capital markets union."

According to Van Stiphout, a completely different topic that is central is European defence equipment. "Due to the war in Ukraine, a large part of the European defence equipment has gone that way and there are now many shortages. As Europe, we do not have the industrial capacity to make up for it. It is also difficult for companies in the defence industry to obtain capital. In recent decades, investments in defence equipment by the financial sector have also declined further, partly due to increased attention to IRBC (International Corporate Social Responsibility).
The European Commission therefore wants something to be done now to prevent a major security problem from arising. Then we as the EU become dependent on other countries, with which we do not always have the best relationship." Van Stiphout notices that it can sometimes be quite difficult to challenge insurers to discuss this, especially since most of them are now fully engaged in the implementation of European rules, for example in the field of sustainable investments and reporting on the CO2 footprint. "You notice that a lot of capacity goes into this and then it is often difficult to look (further) ahead."

Finally. What topics does the Association/Insurance Europe itself suggest?

"One of the things we are calling the European Commission attention to is access to data, specifically data that is in vehicles. You can see that a lot of innovation is taking place in the automotive industry, in which data plays an increasingly important role. This, of course, affects issues such as mobility and road safety. At the moment, the data that a vehicle possesses is in the hands of the vehicle manufacturer. If we move towards smart, self-driving cars in the future, the role of this data will be much greater. It is therefore striking that only the car manufacturer decides what happens to the data. For example, the manufacturer can choose to keep the data itself or offer it or sell it on to a data broker. We find it extraordinary that a customer has no say in such a valuable dataset. That's why we want the car owner to have more say in what happens to the data. An insurance example here is that motorists may be able to get a discount on third-party insurance if they have a safe driving style. In short, it is very interesting for insurers; When there is insight into the data, they can, for example, offer services cheaper or even new services."

"It is striking that only the car manufacturer decides what happens to the data"

To date, the manufacturers do not share the data, the lobbyist continues. "There is a bill to do something about it, but it has been on the shelf for two years. Come on with laws and regulations, I think, this will allow the insurance industry to offer new innovative products. Now there is a market failure."

Finally, he hopes that there will be fewer reporting obligations in the field of sustainable finance; This often leads to unnecessary overlap. "This can be done more streamlined, making it easier for insurers to implement. So we offer a critical view: are all reports necessary or can it be a little less?", concludes Van Stiphout.


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