Supervisory Colleges

Last Updated 7/31/17

Issue: At the heart of the lessons learned from the global financial crisis of 2008 was the need for regulators to be able to assess the enterprise risk within a holding company system and its impact or contagion upon the insurers within that group. In response to the crisis, the NAIC formed the Group Solvency Issues (E) Working Group (GSIWG) to consider possible enhancements to U.S. Group Supervision. In addition to strengthening holding company laws and regulations, the GSIWG monitors supervisory colleges activities and other methods of communication and coordination amongst cross-border and cross-sectoral supervisors. The evolution of supervisory colleges advances international cooperation and coordination among insurance supervisors and other financial regulators.

Overview: Supervisory colleges are joint meetings of interested regulators with company officials and include detailed discussions about financial data, corporate governance, and enterprise risk management functions. Supervisory colleges are intended to facilitate over-sight of internationally active insurance companies at the group level (IAIG). The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) defines a supervisory college as “a forum for cooperation and communication between the involved supervisors established for the fundamental purpose of facilitating the effectiveness of supervision of entities which belong to an insurance group; facilitating both the supervision of the group as a whole on a group-wide basis and improving the legal entity supervision of the entities within the insurance group.”

U.S. state insurance regulators both coordinate and participate in supervisory colleges. State insurance commissioners may participate in a supervisory college with other regulators charged with supervision of such insurers or their affiliates, including other state, federal and international regulatory agencies. Information exchanged in a supervisory college context between regulators is confidential subject to the applicable confidentiality agreement.

U.S. insurance regulators understand and embrace supervisory colleges; states have been conducting a similar process in the U.S. for decades for U.S. insurance legal entities within the same holding company system. The NAIC refers to this process as the “lead state” approach for insurance groups. In 2011, the NAIC adopted revisions to its Model Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act and Regulation to enhance the “windows and walls” approach to group supervision. The revisions provide for an U.S. insurance regulator to participate in a supervisory college with other regulators for supervision of a domestic insurer that is part of an insurance holding company system with international operations.

Status: As the business models and global risk-management practices of internationally active insurers continue to evolve, financial regulators around the world are engaging in supervisory colleges, and increasing their collaboration to ensure robust supervision and stable financial markets. To promote the participation of U.S. insurance regulators in supervisory colleges for internationally active insurance groups, the NAIC developed a web-based request form through which international regulators can request the participation of their U.S. counterparts. The GSIWG is charged to develop required procedures for state regulators to use when leading and participating in supervisory colleges. In addition, an EU-U.S. Dialogue Project: Supervisory Colleges Best Practices Forum was held during the 2013 NAIC Fall National Meeting.