On 19 August 2015, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) introduced the procedure to identify small insurance undertakings ("Verfahren zur Feststellung von kleinen Versicherungsunternehmen im Sinne von § 211 VAG 2016"). The reason for this was that the complex and strict rules regarding undertakings´ capital resources according to Solvency II, which will come into force at the start of 2016, will not be applicable to entities that qualify as small insurance undertakings under section 211 VAG 2016. In essence, these are insurance companies whose annual gross written premium income, inter alia, does not exceed EUR 5 million and whose technical provisions, gross of the amounts recoverable from reinsurance contracts and special purpose vehicles, do not exceed EUR 25 million.

Small insurance undertakings can only rely on the exceptions for small insurance undertakings if they have obtained an official statement by BaFin that they fulfill the requirements for small insurance undertakings.

In order to obtain such a statement, BaFin now asks the undertakings to submit a declaration that they: have fulfilled the requirements laid down in section 211 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 1 to 3 VAG 2016 during the last three years; will presumably fulfill them until the end of 2020; and do not undertake insurance business in the sense of section 211 para. 1 sentence 1 no. 4 or 5 VAG 2016.

In addition to this declaration, the undertakings have to submit certain documentation to BaFin regarding the undertaking's annual gross written premium income, the undertaking's technical provisions according to German Commercial Code ("HGB"), the gross written premium income from reinsurance business and the undertaking's gross technical provisions from reinsurance business according to HGB. This documentation has to relate to the years 2013 until 2015. Moreover, the undertakings will have to submit an estimation of these factors for the years 2016 until 2020. Certain, but not all, undertakings which are expressly mentioned in the BaFin's indication will also have to submit a calculation of the technical provisions according to Solvency II-standards for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

After submission of the declaration and the documentation, BaFin may issue an official statement that an undertaking qualifies as a small insurance undertaking. However, this will not happen before the new VAG comes into force on 1 January 2016.ge