British regulator to focus more on protecting insurance policyholders

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) – The Bank of England said it
will devote greater effort to ensuring more consistent
protection for those who would suffer most if their insurance
policies do not pay out as promised. The move follows a review by the central bank’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), published on Monday, which looked into
how the BoE’s supervisory arm, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), ensures that policyholders are properly protected. PRA work on the issue had been “crowded out” by “live supervisory issues” and the need to implement European Union capital rules known as Solvency II by January 2016, the IEO said in its report. The PRA’s “articulation of its policyholder protection responsibilities appears to be unfinished business”, although there was no evidence that PRA supervisors were falling short of their duties, the IEO said.

BoE Deputy Governor and PRA Chief Executive, Sam Woods, said the PRA does not seek to protect all policyholders equally and will direct more resources to those who would suffer greater financial hardship if their policies do not pay out as promised.

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