Pru chief fires warning shot over insurance shake-up

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The Independent Online

Britain's insurers took a fresh sideswipe at Brussels yesterday over the continued uncertainty caused by Solvency II.

Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Prudential, warned the European Union that it risks damaging the sector if the capital rules are not implemented properly.

His comments, at the Association of British Insurers' biennial conference, reflect growing anger at Solvency II, which is meant to ensure that insurers hold the right amount of capital to cover the risks they hold. Insurers believe the rules have already cost them more than £3bn in red tape and compliance.

"Getting this wrong will have real consequences for our economy and for jobs, for growth and how we deal with an ageing population," Mr Thiam said.

Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain's leading insurance regulator, said the rules were far from being workable. "My view is that we still have a good way to go to make the Solvency II regime manageable in its use and implementation. I have to say that I think the early design did not come up to the mark in this respect," he added. "We will continue to push for a prudent solution that will meet the needs of UK insurers and allows for the continued provision of annuities to policyholders."