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Oliver Suess and Maud van Gaal. Bloomberg.

Solvency II, regulations that are intended to ensure the solvency of insurance companies, may soon be a reality after 13 years of strife between politicians, companies and regulators. A compromise on how much capital insurers need to hold to ensure that they can fulfill their commitments to customers for such long-term products such as annuities is close to being reached. Ralph Koijen, finance professor at the London Business School, said, “The rules for discounting insurers’ long-term liabilities seem to have been watered down, allowing calculation on the basis of a risk-free rate with a liquidity premium, rather than actual marked to market valuation.'' Insurers had criticized the proposed rules saying they could make savings products excessively expensive. In Europe insurers are the largest institutional investors, with 8.4 trillion euros ($11.3 trillion) under management, but have not made progress on adopting a framework to help them face losses similar to those from the 2008 financial crisis as rapidly as have banks. Solvency II, scheduled to come into force last year, has been delayed several times over various issues. The plan now is to implement the rules on January 1, 2016.

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