On 9 October 2012, EIOPA published a report on the knowledge and ability requirements set by EU national competent authorities (“NCAs”) for insurance intermediaries. The report is based on responses to a mapping exercises carried out by EIOPA members between March and September 2012 on the industry training standards that apply in difference jurisdictions.
The report concluded that knowledge and ability requirements are generally a combination of academic and professional experience, although in some countries academic qualifications can be waived if professional experience is long enough. In many member states, the requirements for insurance brokers are more stringent than for insurance agents.
The report also indicates that the requirement to update knowledge and ability requirements through continuous professional development (“CPD”) varies considerably between jurisdictions, with some jurisdictions only assessing knowledge and ability before first registration of an intermediary while other jurisdictions require a minimum number of hours of CPD per year or require the passing of exams or training courses on a regular basis. With a few exceptions, there is limited availability for intermediaries to update their knowledge and ability via e-learning.
In addition, responsibility for assessing knowledge and ability at a national level was found to vary considerably. Some jurisdictions only permit assessment by the NCA, or by the NCA in tandem with undertakings/professional associations, while others delegate this responsibility to professional associations and some delegate this responsibility to the intermediary or undertaking itself.
The report found that NCAs had very little experience of receiving applications for mutual recognition of knowledge and ability requirements.
Finally, sanctions for failure to possess adequate knowledge and ability were found to vary; the basic sanctions are refusal to register the intermediary or a withdrawal of the intermediary’s licence/authorisation, but some jurisdictions have more stringent regimes, involving suspensions, disqualifications, fines or imprisonment.