On 29 October 2010, the European Commission (the “Commission”) wrote to the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (“CEIOPS”) regarding its request for advice on the extent to which Bermuda, Japan and Switzerland meet the third country equivalence criteria. The Commission formally requested CEIOPS to carry out equivalence assessments of Bermuda and Switzerland with respect to all three equivalence assessments (Article 172 – Reinsurance; Article 227 – Group Solvency; Article 260 – Group Supervision) and Japan for Article 172 (Reinsurance) only. The Commission asked that CIEOPS’s assessment of the third countries should include an analysis of the extent to which the criteria is fulfilled with reference to the legislation in place (and to be in place by 1 January 2013) and the implementation and application of that legislation within their supervisory regime.

Where CEIOPS identifies that equivalence is not possible, CEIOPS must identify what aspects of the third country’s solvency regime are equivalent and what additional steps need to be taken in order for the remaining criteria to be met.

The Commission has not asked for assessment of all third countries for which a Solvency II equivalence finding is relevant as this would be time intensive and there are resource constraints. Instead, it has suggested a transitional regime for equivalence (which is not yet finalised). The transitional regime would allow eligible third countries to receive the same benefits as equivalent third countries but only for a limited time period, at the end of which they would be expected to have met the equivalence criteria. It has been indicated that the United States would be a primary candidate for this regime