On 19 January 2011, the European Commission published a proposal in relation to the Omnibus II Directive together with a press release regarding the same.

The press release explains that, following the launch of the three new European Supervisory Authorities (the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (“EIOPA”), and the European Securities and Markets Authority) (the “Authorities”) on 1 January 2011, the Commission now proposes to make targeted changes to legislation in the areas of insurance and securities regulation to ensure that the new Authorities can work effectively. In particular, the proposal sets out in detail the scope for the Authorities to exercise their powers, which include the possibility to develop draft technical standards and to settle disagreements between national supervisors.

As far as Solvency II is concerned, the proposed Omnibus II Directive endeavours to ensure that EIOPA can work effectively, having taken over from the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (“CEIOPS”)1.  

The proposed Omnibus II Directive contains a limited set of amendments in relation to Solvency II, which include:

  • further tasks for EIOPA such as harmonising technical approaches on the use of ratings in relation to the solvency capital requirements;  
  • extending the implementation date by two months (to 31 December 2012) to ensure better alignment with the end of the financial year of the majority of insurance and reinsurance undertakings; and  
  • enabling the European Commission to specify transitional measures in certain areas if deemed necessary to avoid market disruption and to allow a smooth transition to the new Solvency II regime.