The European Union (Insurance and Reinsurance) Regulations 2015 (the “2015 Regulations”) have been signed into law. The purpose of these Regulations is to transpose the Solvency II Directive 2009/138, as amended, into Irish Law.

Solvency II provides the framework for a new, harmonised EU-wide solvency and supervisory regime for the insurance sector, replacing 14 existing EU insurance Directives. Solvency II is based on three pillars, namely financial (eg, quantitative) requirements, governance and supervision, and reporting and disclosure. In addition to capital requirements, it contains requirements covering authorisation, corporate governance, supervisory reporting, public disclosure, and risk assessment and management, as well as solvency and reserving.

For the most part, the 2015 Regulations will come into operation on 1 January 2016, the date upon which Solvency II must be transposed into national law. Prior to the publication of the 2015 Regulations, the Central Bank of Ireland’s (“Central Bank”) efforts to prepare for Solvency II were already well underway. Some of the more recent efforts include the publication of a Policy Notice, on 21 October 2015, outlining the Discretions and Options on Submission of Information available to firms under Solvency II. The Central Bank has also reorganised its Insurance Directorate and is proposing a number of changes to its supervisory engagement model in anticipation of Solvency II requirements.