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Non-life insurance: third Directive

The European Union (EU) is introducing a single authorisation system whereby an insurance undertaking whose head office is in one of the Member States of the EU may open branches and carry on business by way of the freedom to provide services under the supervision of the Member State in which its head office is based. The aim is to allow policy-holders to find the cover best suited to their needs.

ACT

Directive 92/49/EEC of 18 June 1992 on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to direct insurance other than life insurance and amending Directives 73/239/EEC and 88/357/EEC (Third non-life insurance Directive) [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

This Directive applies to insurance and to the taking up of the independent business of direct non-life insurance by insurance undertakings established or proposing to become established in a Member State.

The taking up of the business of insurance

Undertakings wishing to take up the business of direct insurance must seek official authorisation from the authorities of the home Member State. Such authorisation permits an undertaking to carry on business under the right of establishment or the freedom to provide services.

Insurance undertakings taking up the business of direct insurance must adopt the form provided for.

Such undertakings must:

  • limit their objects to the business of insurance and operations arising therefrom;
  • submit a scheme of operations which must include information concerning the nature of the risks which the undertaking proposes to cover, the items constituting the minimum guarantee fund, and the guiding principles as to reinsurance;
  • possess the minimum guarantee fund required.

Undertakings must also communicate the identities of the shareholders and members to the competent authorities.

Harmonisation of the conditions governing the business of insurance

The financial supervision of insurance undertakings is the sole responsibility of the Member States. They are responsible for verifying the insurance undertaking’s entire business, its state of solvency and the establishment of technical provisions and of the assets covering them. For their part, insurance undertakings must provide Member States with the documents necessary for the purposes of supervision, together with statistical documents.

Every insurance undertaking must establish adequate technical provisions in order to carry out its operations. These technical provisions and equalisation reserves are established by investments and debts and claims, or even by other assets.

The competent authorities have the power to withdraw the authorisation granted to an undertaking if it:

  • does not make use of that authorisation within 12 months;
  • no longer fulfils the conditions for admission;
  • fails in its obligations.

Provisions relating to the right of establishment and the freedom to provide services

Insurance undertakings may open a branch within the territory of another Member State, provided they notify the competent authority of the home Member State and provide it with certain information, especially concerning business carried on under the right of establishment or the freedom to provide services.

The policy-holder must always be informed of the name of the Member State in which the undertaking has its head office, and of the branch with which the contract is to be concluded.

Key terms of the act
  • Reinsurance: the business of accepting risks transferred by an insurance undertaking or another reinsurance undertaking.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 92/49/EEC

2.7.1992

31.12.1993

OJ L 228 of 11.8.1992

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 95/26/EC

7.8.1995

18.7.1996

OJ L 168 of 18.7.1995

Directive 2000/64/EC

17.11.2000

17.11.2002

OJ L 290 of 17.11.2000

Directive 2002/87/EC

11.2.2003

10.8.2004

OJ L 35 of 11.2.2003

Directive 2005/1/EC

13.4.2005

13.5.2005

OJ L 79 of 24.3.2005

Directive 2005/68/EC

10.12.2005

10.12.2007

OJ L 323 of 9.12.2005

Directive 2007/44/EC

21.9.2007

20.3.2009

OJ L 247 of 21.9.2007

Directive 2008/36/EC

21.3.2008

-

OJ L 81 of 20.3.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 92/49/EEC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for information only.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2000/26/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 16 May on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles and amending Council Directives 73/239/EEC and 88/357/EEC (Fourth motor insurance Directive).
This text aims to improve the protection of residents of any Member State who, while temporarily abroad (in a Member State other than that of residence or in a non-member country whose national insurers’ bureau has joined the Green Card system), are victims of a traffic accident. It provides for simplification of the compensation procedure and requires insurance companies to appoint a claims representative in each Member State responsible for handling and settling any claims arising from an accident, and to set up information structures for identifying the insurer to which they have to address their claims. The proposal further provides for the possibility of introducing a direct right of action throughout the European Union in favour of the victim, enabling the claim for compensation to be addressed directly to the insurer of the person responsible for the accident.

Last updated: 25.10.2011
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