Monday, 31 March 2014

EIOPA's "Common Application Package" for Internal Model Applications - UK back to the drawing board?

The release of an EIOPA Opinion today may very well raise the heckles of the UK Insurance Industry, regarding a move towards a "Common Application Package" to be used across Europe for assessing internal model applications. This appears on the face of it to be disjoined from the internal model-related ITS already scheduled in EIOPA's calendar (p12) over the next couple of months.

Their "package", to be published after consultation with the National Competent Authorities themselves, will comprise of;

  •  Instructions 
  •  A self-assessment 
  •  Background Information 
  •  An inventory of internal documentation 
  •  An explanatory document 

Worth remembering at outset;

That said, a combination of EIOPA's desire for convergence, and the recently released and revised Delegated Acts may have a particularly destructive effect on existing IMAP efforts within the Solvency II Programmes of UK insurers. I have therefore had a deeper trawl through the Delegated Acts in order find out what the practical implication of any changes in the redrafted Delegated Acts might be.

As anyone who has worked in the UK IMAP space will (un)happily tell you;
  • The PRA's approach to assessing internal model applications (inherited from its predecessor) involves deconstructing Solvency II Directive and Delegated Act text into sentences, and in some cases sentence fragments. This created over 300 "requirements".
  • Those are transferred into a spreadsheet list, within which firms are asked to list evidence of their ability to address each item (or why the requirement is not relevant).
  • That spreadsheet list is housed on an Excel workbook known as the SAT Template, which contains various other worksheets, all of which require manual population of some kind.
  • A fully populated SAT Template is required by the PRA for IMAP participants, along with some ancilliary documents (listed here), supplemented by any further documentation which the legislation or EIOPA deem is compulsory.
It's not a tick-box exercise though...

The recent versions of the Delegated Acts which have been creeping around are therefore of some significance to this work. Over the last couple of years, firms will have populated a SAT Template which contained deconstructed sentences from the Solvency II Directive pre-Omnibus II, and the Delegated Act text from November 2011, both of which have now been superseded (without being too presumptuous!).

How do the changes affect the contents of firm's existing IMAP templates, and indeed does it matter? Well, it goes without saying that the SAT Template will need to be amended and reissued by the PRA, regardless of what EIOPA produce. The question for UK firms, having spent considerable money and resource on populating the template in 2011/2012, is whether or not to start from scratch, now that time is something of a luxury, and the end-game is more definitive.

With 2013 being something of a write-off for both Solvency II programmes and the PRA's IMAP campaign (although the costs suggest otherwise!), it is likely that existing SAT templates, crammed with bespoke explanatory text and document references, have either gathered dust for a month or twelve, or received only minimal maintenance.

To see exactly how much of those early efforts will be salvageable, I have taken a look at the Delegated Act articles from January 2014* regarding the Tests and Standards for Internal Model Approval (or 'TSIM', after the acronym allocated to these articles by the draughtsmen), and compared it against the November 2011 version of the same text, and found some significant changes in form and substance, which may render some of your earlier SAT population efforts chocolate-fireguard useful.

The 24 original TSIMs, once deconstructed, respresent over 200 (almost two-thirds) of the "requirements" listed within the SAT template, so any changes in them could massively impact the recyclability of existing content.

IMAP Changes - has EIOPA gone Gaga?
I found, of those 24;
  • 6 are unchanged verbatim
  • 2 have minor definitional tweaks, but are otherwise unchanged
  • 2 have been merged
  • 2 'new' articles have been introduced into the section, though neither are labelled "TSIM" at this point.
  • All others have been changed in at least form, and in the majority of cases, substance
IMAP candidate firms have therefore been left to contend with more awkward changes than a Lady Gaga concert in a broom cupboard...

Those which have received the most aggressive reworking include;
  • Article 225 TSIM 15 - Management Actions
  • Article 229 TSIM 18 - Model Validation Process
  • Article 230 TSIM 19 - Validation Tools
  • Article 232 TSIM 21 - Minimum content of the documentation
It is fair to say therefore that UK-centred internal model applicants may struggle to recycle their existing IMAP drafting efforts without re-engaging Business-As-Usual staff in a substantial way, and that is before we even get to what EIOPA may propose in the "common application package". It also remains to be seen how the other European countries react to the likely Anglicisation of internal model assessment.

If you need help with this on your Solvency II Programme, don't be afraid to get in touch at

* Just for reassurance, the TSIM text doesn't change between the January 2014 and March 2014 versions, but unless someone published the March version online, you'll have to take my word for that!

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