Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
89. To ask the Minister for Finance if all insurers and reinsurers based or operating here have signalled to the Central Bank that they will not pay discretionary dividends or implement share buy back schemes for 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6042/20]
In response to the Deputy’s question, my officials contacted the Central Bank for information on this matter. In their reply, the Central Bank indicated that as the information sought by the Deputy relates to their day-to-day supervisory work of (re) insurers, they are precluded from providing a response to your question. They also noted that they do not divulge firm specific information with respect to their supervisory activities.
The above said, I would note that on 2 April, EIOPA published a statement on dividend distribution and variable remuneration policies in the context of Covid-19. This statement sets out that (re) insurers should suspend all discretionary dividend distributions and share buy backs aimed at remunerating shareholders. In addition, any variable remuneration due to be paid by (re) insurers should also be considered for postponement at this time. The Central Bank, in its response to my officials, confirmed that it is fully aligned with this statement, which is designed to ensure that policyholders’ interests are protected. In addition, the Central Bank confirmed that it has communicated this to insurance firms bilaterally and through relevant industry bodies. I understand that a number of firms have already announced that they are deferring dividends in this context. I welcome this and believe others should also follow suit.
Finally, with regard to EU insurance firms that are not authorised by the Central Bank but that operate in the State, I am informed that the Central Bank’s expectation would be that EIOPA’s statement has been duly considered by the supervisory authority of the member State that they are supervised in.