Martin Offa?


International man of mystery


It has been supranational day at LIIBA with meetings of BIPAR’s Directors Committee, Executive Committee of World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (WFII) and a catch up with CIAB in Washington (or rather not really in Washington, sort of all over the place including Blaire imprisoned in a basement in Columbus so dark she could not appear on screen).  From these various international forums I have gathered the following.


At BIPAR we were joined by Didier Millerot who is the new(ish) head of insurance at DG FSMA (replacing Natalie Berger who didn’t like us – so potentially an improvement).  He noted:


  • The recent Solvency II stress test had proved apposite.  This had demonstrated that EU insurers have high solvency ratios and so had the capacity to sustain through the crisis.
  • He is beginning to muse on how the crisis might fundamentally change the shape of the market – eg the future of motor insurance in a world where people are using their car significantly less frequently.
  • His concentration is focussed on mitigating the impact of the crisis on consumers.  EIOPA will be producing a further statement on Product Oversight & Governance later this week.
  • Solvency II review will be delayed by 6 months to the middle of 2021 as the crisis might have a material affect on the recommendations particularly around things like volatility adjustments.
  • IDD review will be delayed and will be broadened into a combined review of IDD and MIFID and their success in delivering an optimal retail consumer outcome.  This will include consumer research to be launched in June but will not conclude until Q3 2022.  Whilst he did accept that a “one size fits all” approach is not necessarily always wise, this does sound a somewhat worrying development.


At WFII I learnt


  • That the various discussions around retroactive cover in US (a proposal to the Washington DC Council that failed and a planned discussion at the House Small Business Committee next week) seem unlikely to come to anything.  US Treasury has confirmed that insurers should not be expected to pay out if there is not cover in place.
  • Opinion in US is split over which approach to any future public/private partnership should be put in place.  Larger insurers seem to prefer a “PRIA” approach following the model of the terrorism fund.  Smaller insurers are put off by the high threshold limits and thus prefer something akin to the National Flood Programme.
  • Australian Treasury doesn’t like pools and so debate there is yet to get going.
  • South Africa might be keen but can’t afford it.


And at CIAB, Joel Wood and I engaged in our irregular game of “celebrities we have encountered in the lobby of the Intercontinental hotel in Managua” this time featuring Randy Jackson, Darryl Hannah and PJ O’Rourke.  Plus we discussed how Democrats are about to cheat in the special election in California’s 25th district – which may or may not be #fakenews.


Beware Greeks?


Greece has had a pretty good virus thus far with relatively few fatalities.  This has emboldened it to announce the reopening of its tourism industry.  So if you could give your watchful, vengeful neighbours the slip and dodge the rozzers on the way to Stanstead, I am sure that Michael O’Leary can cram you into one of his steel incubators and pilot you to Athens.  A fortnight of sun and souvlaki awaits.  And since Boris seems to be going to waive the quarantine requirement from any country he likes (and he is a classicist), then there is no worry there.


Now we must question why the Greeks have had it so good.  Do they have a natural lifestyle advantage that has helped them be more resistant to the virus?  I think I have the answer.  It is my understanding that ouzo’s chemical make-up is almost indistinguishable from disinfectant.  Plus, as Geraldine pointed out this morning, the two predominant Greek wines are Retsina and Domestos.  And so we can reach only one conclusion.  The Donald was right.


I’m lovin’ it


Speaking of the President, more heartening news from his favourite purveyors of fine food – McDonald’s.  From May 20th, just eight short days away, 40 more drive thrus will reopen.  List of locations not released yet but if it doesn’t include the Riverhead one there may be trouble.  Plus, excitingly, the shortened menu (they must have had Ramsay in) has been extended to include “Core McFlurries” which will assist in the preservation of domestic harmony around here.  But, frankly, “fruit bag”? Why bother?


Stratforward talking


Whilst welcoming the spirt behind the proposals FCA set out a couple of weeks back to bring clarity to “grey area” BI wordings and to show flexibility to clients, we do have some reservations about the detail.  So we have responded to the consultation as per the attached.  We will see what response this gets.


Sent a clause?


We are aware that many of you have issues with some of the model wordings that have been issued by LMA in response to Covid-19. If you have questions you would like to raise individually as firms, LMA now has a dedicated email address for these  Please bear in mind that LMA will be unable to comment on the specific circumstances of individual policies.


Alternatively if you would like to raise any issues through LIIBA, we have developed the attached form to seek your feedback.  We will then collate these into groups of similar issues and discuss with LMA in a controlled forum to ensure we observe the strict requirements of competition law (on which we have sought and received input from FCA)


Fairway to go?


Marsh’s finest Frederica Cenciotti brings us the news of the dilemma facing Llanymynech (no idea – but I am sure it generates a fair amount of flying saliva and so is not very corona friendly) golf club.  It has fifteen and a half holes in Wales and two and a half in England.  So should golfers be alert for a reopening tomorrow?  Or should they resign themselves to staying at home?  Or could they play a shortened fourth hole and then the fifth and the sixth or is there a danger, given levels of talent displayed by, say, me, that a wayward approach shot might go awry and sneak into the Principality thus forcing you to go home?  And what if Seve were still alive and decided the best way to play the fifth hole was through the car park only to discover, too late, that the car park is in Wales even if the fairway is English.  And where is the 19th hole?  Is it a haven of tranquility and proper cheese on toast; or is it a den of iniquity, rarebit and tortuous close harmony singing?  These are the pressing issues our nation needs the answers to.  Let me call Dominic Raab.



What day is it again?