May 9, 2017 / 8:33 AM / 4 months ago

BaFin expects all German insurance firms to show sufficient solvency

FRANKFURT, May 9 (Reuters) - Germany’s top financial market regulator on Tuesday said it expected the nation’s insurance companies to provide sufficient solvency ratios when they are published for the first time later this month, despite pressure from low interest rates.

“Risk management and risk awareness of insurers has increased dramatically,” Felix Hufeld, president of the regulator, said at a news conference. “And we are expecting that all companies will present sufficient Solvency II ratios on May 22.”

Frank Grund, head of insurance supervision at BaFin, warned not to read too much into the headline Solvency II figures. An insurer with a seemingly better solvency ratio could actually have a relatively more volatile portfolio than a competitor with a lower solvency ratio, he said.

Since the start of 2016, European insurers have been subject to harmonized regulation, known as Solvency II. The aim is to ease the risk of insolvency with requirements for capital. May 22 is the first time that the solvency ratios will be available to the public at large.

With current interest rates near zero, insurers are finding it increasingly tough to achieve the returns needed to pay policyholders. (Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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