Introduction

On 24 June 2014 the Legislative Decree no. 91 (hereinafter, “L.D. 91/2014” or, the “Competitiveness Decree”) entered into force.

The Competitiveness Decree, amended by Law no. 116 of 11 August 2014, introduces, inter alia, important measures allowing the insurance companies to grant credit, consequently determining the amendment of the Legislative Decree n. 209 of 7 September 2005 (hereinafter, the “Insurance Code”) and of the Legislative Decree n. 385 of 1 September 1993 (hereinafter, the “Banking Code”).

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Article 22 of the Competitiveness Decree includes, as a matter of fact, an innovative provision in favor of the insurance companies, which will be allowed to grant credit in any form (excluded guarantees), exclusively to:

  • entities which are not natural persons;
  • legal entities which are not included in the definition of “microenterprise” [[1]] set forth by Article 2, paragraph 3, of the Annex of the EU Commission Recommendation 2003/361/CE.

The Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority (hereinafter, “IVASS”) is expected to issue a detailed Regulation setting forth the conditions and the limits for granting credit, considering the following basic criteria:

  1. the beneficiaries shall be selected in advance by a bank or a financial intermediary authorized to operate in compliance with Article 106, as amended, of the Banking Code;
  2. the bank or the financial intermediary indicated sub a) shall maintain, until the end of the operation, an economic interest at least equal to 5% of the credit granted;
  3. the system for the internal control and the management of the corporate risks shall be adjusted in order to fully understand and evaluate the risks related to these specific activities;
  4. the insurance company shall maintain an adequate equity and long term debt capital.

IVASS may authorize, case by case, an insurer to select the beneficiaries in an autonomous way – therefore, as a matter of fact, in those cases:

  1. it will not be necessary the involvement of a bank or of an authorized financial intermediary in the beneficiaries’ selection process; and
  2. it will not be necessary for a bank or an authorized financial intermediary to maintain in the deal (until the end thereof) an interest at least equal to 5% of the credit granted.

Furthermore, according to the provisions contained in the Competitiveness Decree, the new entities authorized to grant the credit shall transmit to the Bank of Italy, in compliance with its terms and conditions, some periodic notifications as well as any other data and documents required, and such entities shall be listed in the National Central Credit Register (CCR)[[2]].