EU-U.S. Dialogue Project

Last Updated 3/7/17

Issue: For well over a decade, the NAIC and state insurance regulators have regularly taken part in on-going U.S.-EU insurance regulatory dialogues on various topical issues of mutual regulatory concern. Together, U.S. and European Union (EU) regulators oversee approximately two-thirds of the global insurance market. Enhanced cross-border cooperation and regulatory modernization is important so our regulatory communities are better equipped to face global challenges that arise. These recurring dialogues have led to more harmonized regulatory approaches, where appropriate, and fostered mutual trust and understanding amongst regulators of different jurisdictions. Moreover, the dialogues have established the basis on which to build new cooperation projects. An EU-U.S. Dialogue Project began in January 2012 with the objective of enhancing understanding and cooperation for the benefit of insurance consumers, business opportunity and effective supervision. The Dialogue Project was initiated by the U.S. as an alternative to undertaking a formal EU equivalence determination process.

Overview: In January 2012, the NAIC, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Commission (EC) agreed to participate in an  U.S.-EU Dialogue Project.  The Dialogue Project was established to deepen insight into the overall design, function and objectives of the key aspects of the insurance regulatory regimes in the U.S. and EU, and to identify important characteristics of both regimes. The Dialogue Project is led by a Steering Committee that includes three top supervisory officials from the U.S. and three from the EU. The Steering Committee chose key topics that they consider to be fundamentally important to a sound regulatory regime that protects policyholders and financial stability.
Separate Technical Committees, staffed with insurance experts from both jurisdictions, were established to address each of the key topics. Each Technical Committee was tasked with preparing objective, fact-based reports that identify areas of alignment and differences between the two regimes. In September 2012, a comprehensive draft report on the commonalities and differences between the jurisdictions in key areas of supervision was produced for public comment. Two public hearings were held in October 2012 to offer participants a chance to comment on the Dialogue Project's draft report. Based on the comments received, a revised final report was released in December 2012 entitled "EU-U.S. Dialogue Project Technical Committee Reports Comparing Certain Aspects of the Insurance Supervisory and Regulatory Regimes in the European Union and the United States". Based on the report, the Steering Committee also agreed on a "Way Forward" plan, which outlines common objectives and initiatives for the parties to be pursued over the next five years, through 2017. In April 2014, the steering committee of the Dialogue Project met to discuss further steps to be integrated into the five-year plan. In July 2014, an update to the Way Forward was released which outlined progress to date on the project and reaffirmed the commitment to the project.

Status: In October 2016 the Dialogue Project held a public event in Frankfurt, Germany the fourth of its kind which provided the public with a status report of the project.  In January 2017, a proposed Covered Agreement between the EU and the U.S. was announced. While both sides are assessing its potential impact, the immediate future of the Project has yet to be determined and confirmed. In the meantime, the NAIC remains fully committed to regular dialogues with European regulators regardless of the Project status.