BRUSSELS, Jan 13 (Reuters) - The European Union and the United States agreed on Friday to reduce legal and capital barriers to boost the $3 billion transatlantic insurance and reinsurance market.
The accord has been under negotiation for more than one year and follows an agreement last year on derivatives.
U.S. and EU representatives said in a joint statement they had reached a deal "that will ensure ongoing robust insurance consumer protection and provide enhanced regulatory certainty for insurers and reinsurers operating in both the U.S. and the EU."
Under the deal, EU and US authorities will lift requirements for reinsurers to hold more capital against risks if they operate from the other side of the Atlantic, eliminating one key hurdle for cross-border expansion.
Insurers will also benefit from lower supervisory requirements, a move expected to reduce costs.
"This is a major deal that is set to benefit insurers, reinsurers and policy holders on both sides of the Atlantic," said the EU financial services commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.
The deal paves the way for EU companies to increase their market share in the US, and for US companies to sell their policies more easily in the 28 European Union countries.
The deal needs approval from the European Parliament and U.S. Congress. ($1 = 0.9388 euros) (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)