BETA


Events

2014/06/18
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2014/02/05
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2014/02/05
   EP - Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
Details

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters in response to the Commission Green Paper on the subject.

Parliament noted that the situation in the EU insurance market is heterogeneous because Member States are exposed to different risks and natural catastrophes and the predictability of a natural catastrophe depends on different factors (meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, etc.). It recalled that between 1980 and 2011, a small number of big events gave rise to about half of all costs related to weather events.

Accordingly, Parliament called for prevention and information measures in order to protect people and avoid losses caused by unexpected events.

To prevent environmental risks, it suggested more research in partnership with insurance companies in order to better understand the issues involved, thus preparing citizens and their communities for risks related to natural catastrophes.

Members also considered that information is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters, and called for closer cooperation between Member States and the private sector in this area.

At European level, Parliament favoured the sharing of best practice on risk prevention and mitigation amongst Member States and regionally. It pointed out that the involvement of local authorities in decisions concerning city planning and urban development could improve natural catastrophe management. It called for Member States and public authorities to take adequate preventive measures in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and to create and maintain crisis response units.

Insurance market: whilst welcoming the Commission’s Green Paper, Parliament noted that natural and man-made disasters need different types of insurance and are covered by two different insurance markets. Such disasters cannot be treated together even if there are cases of man-made decisions aggravating exposure to a natural catastrophe risk. It underlined that the EU should not create overlapping and contradicting liability rules.

Most Member States already have some form of insurance-based system for floods and other natural damage, but the system can be supplemented with state funds to compensate for those assets that cannot be privately insured. State funds may also compensate for insurance claims exceeding the maximum amounts or for otherwise exceptionally heavy damage . The resolution also took the view that a Member State may participate in compensation for damage by providing reinsurance . It stated, however, that these systems differ in many respects, and it is not prudent or necessary to unify them.

Recalling that natural catastrophes affect both private households and business activities, Parliament encouraged insurance companies to take risk-based pricing as a central approach to disaster insurance. It invited Member States to propose incentives to encourage citizens to protect themselves and insure their property against damage , and incentives responding to insurance needs in terms of environmental liability, e.g. for enterprises in mining or in the gas, chemical or nuclear sectors.

Insurance companies, for their part, are invited to clarify contracts for consumers and to provide information on available options and their impact on the price of cover, in order to ensure adequate consumer choice. Insurance companies must provide clear and comprehensible information for clients and prospective clients. Risk-based pricing should be central to the availability of insurance coverage.

Parliament recognised the need for consumers to understand what type of coverage they have and how it would operate when risks materialise. Consumers should be fully informed of all terms and conditions, including the procedures for withdrawal from a contract and for making complaints and the deadlines applicable in such procedures, when buying insurance products and before signing a contract. It believed that the protection of consumers must be a concern of the EU and the Member States.

Non-mandatory insurance : Parliament recalled that in the end it is the state or the regional authorities that bear much of the indirect or direct cost burden for damage, be the causes natural or man-made. They suggested that Member States and regional authorities should recognise the importance of risk prevention and should make it a pillar of investment strategy , since it is more efficient to minimise the consequences of disasters instead of just providing cover and repairing damage afterwards.

Underlining the risk of moral hazard if citizens assume that their government would be using public resources from the national budget to cover their losses, Members were critical of actions which may discourage citizens or communities from taking measures to protect themselves. Citizens should carry their share of responsibility and compensation should not cover all damage.

Members recalled that individual responsibility in this sector has to be maintained, and is aware of the efforts made by Member States to combine the promotion of individual responsibility with intervention by government.

In conclusion, Parliament considered that there is no market distortion in this field to justify intervention at European level , and do not think that a one-size-fits-all solution would be feasible for this issue. It recalled that tailor-made insurance products depend on many elements, such as type of risks, their probable quantity and quality, culture of prevention, the state of preparedness and capacity for action and the approach taken by Member States and regional authorities concerning risk monitoring and preparation. Members considered that a flexible natural catastrophe insurance market allows insurance companies to adapt products to different conditions, and believed that a non-mandatory framework is the best way to develop products that match with natural risks in a given geographical area.

Documents
2014/02/05
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2014/01/06
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
Details

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Sampo TERHO (EFD, FI) on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters in response to the Commission Green Paper on the subject.

Members note that the situation in the EU insurance market is heterogeneous because Member States are exposed to different risks and natural catastrophes and the predictability of a natural catastrophe depends on different factors (meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, etc.). They recall that between 1980 and 2011 a small number of big events gave rise to about half of all costs related to weather events.

Accordingly, the report calls for prevention and information measures in order to protecting people and avoid losses caused by unexpected events.

To prevent environmental risks, it suggests more research in partnership with insurance companies in order to better understand the issues involved, thus preparing citizens and their communities for risks related to natural catastrophes.

Members also consider that information is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters, and call for closer cooperation between Member States and the private sector in this area.

At European level, the committee favoured the sharing of best practice on risk prevention and mitigation amongst Member States and regionally. It pointed out that the involvement of local authorities in decisions concerning city planning and urban development could improve natural catastrophe management. It called for Member States and public authorities to take adequate preventive measures in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and to create and maintain crisis response units.

Insurance market: whilst welcoming the Commission’s Green Paper, Members note that natural and man-made disasters need different types of insurance and are covered by two different insurance markets. Such disasters cannot be treated together even if there are cases of man-made decisions aggravating exposure to a natural catastrophe risk. Members underline that the EU should not create overlapping and contradicting liability rules.

Most Member States already have some form of insurance-based system for floods and other natural damage, but the system can be supplemented with state funds to compensate for those assets that cannot be privately insured. State funds may also compensate for insurance claims exceeding the maximum amounts or for otherwise exceptionally heavy damage . The report also takes the view that a Member State may participate in compensation for damage by providing reinsurance . It stated, however, that these systems differ in many respects, and it is not prudent or necessary to unify them.

Recalling that natural catastrophes affect both private households and business activities, the committee encourages insurance companies to take risk-based pricing as a central approach to disaster insurance. It invites Member States to propose incentives to encourage citizens to protect themselves and insure their property against damage , and incentives responding to insurance needs in terms of environmental liability, e.g. for enterprises in mining or in the gas, chemical or nuclear sectors.

Insurance companies, for their part, are invited to clarify contracts for consumers and to provide information on available options and their impact on the price of cover, in order to ensure adequate consumer choice. Insurance companies must provide clear and comprehensible information for clients and prospective clients. Risk-based pricing should be central to the availability of insurance coverage.

Non-mandatory insurance : Members recall that in the end it is the state or the regional authorities that bear much of the indirect or direct cost burden for damage, be the causes natural or man-made. They suggest that Member States and regional authorities should recognise the importance of risk prevention and should make it a pillar of investment strategy , since it is more efficient to minimise the consequences of disasters instead of just providing cover and repairing damage afterwards.

Underlining the risk of moral hazard if citizens assume that their government would be using public resources from the national budget to cover their losses, Members are critical of actions which may discourage citizens or communities from taking measures to protect themselves. Citizens should carry their share of responsibility and compensation should not cover all damage.

Members recall that individual responsibility in this sector has to be maintained, and is aware of the efforts made by Member States to combine the promotion of individual responsibility with intervention by government.

In conclusion, Members consider that there is no market distortion in this field to justify intervention at European level , and do not think that a one-size-fits-all solution would be feasible for this issue. They recall that tailor-made insurance products depend on many elements, such as type of risks, their probable quantity and quality, culture of prevention, the state of preparedness and capacity for action and the approach taken by Member States and regional authorities concerning risk monitoring and preparation. The committee considers that a flexible natural catastrophe insurance market allows insurance companies to adapt products to different conditions, and believes that a non-mandatory framework is the best way to develop products that match with natural risks in a given geographical area.

Documents
2013/12/17
   EP - Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading
2013/10/23
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2013/09/25
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2013/09/12
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading
2013/06/18
   EP - TERHO Sampo (EFD) appointed as rapporteur in ECON
2013/04/16
   EC - Non-legislative basic document published
Details

PURPOSE: to present a Green Paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters.

BACKGROUND: the European Union is vulnerable to nearly all types of natural disasters. Disasters not only cause human losses but also damages to the value of billions of euros every year, affecting economic stability and growth.

Disasters may have cross-border effects and can potentially threaten entire areas in neighbouring countries. Even where costs of major disasters are locally concentrated, if costs are inadequately covered by insurance then individual Member States may carry large fiscal burdens, which could cause internal and external imbalances . This is thus an important issue for citizens, companies and governments across the Union.

In 2010, the Council adopted a series of conclusions in which it invited the Commission to evaluate and report on the potential for the European Union to facilitate and support increased coverage of appropriate disaster risk insurance and financial risk transfer markets, as well as regional insurance pooling, in terms of knowledge transfer, cooperation, or seed financing.

This Green Paper poses a number of questions concerning the adequacy and availability of appropriate disaster insurance and accompanies the Communication entitled " An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change ".

CONTENT: the objective is to raise awareness and to assess whether or not action at EU level could be appropriate or warranted to improve the market for disaster insurance in the European Union.

More generally, this process will also:

expand the knowledge base, help to promote insurance as a tool of disaster management and thus contribute to a shift towards a general culture of disaster risk prevention and mitigation, bring in further data and information.

Next steps : the Commission invites stakeholders to comment on all the issues set out in this Green Paper.

On the basis of the outcome of this consultation, the Commission will decide on the best course of action to take on the issues outlined in this Green Paper, including legislative measures, as appropriate .

Stakeholders are invited to send their comments before 30 June 2013.

Documents

AmendmentsDossier
66 2013/2174(INI)
2013/10/23 ECON 66 amendments...
source: PE-522.761

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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  • date: 2013-04-16T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2013/0213/COM_COM(2013)0213_EN.pdf title: COM(2013)0213 type: Non-legislative basic document published celexid: CELEX:52013DC0213:EN body: EC commission: DG: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/internal_market/ title: Internal Market and Services Commissioner: GEORGIEVA Kristalina type: Non-legislative basic document published
  • date: 2013-09-12T00:00:00 body: EP type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: PPE name: LANGEN Werner group: S&D name: MIZZI Marlene group: ALDE name: TORVALDS Nils group: Verts/ALE name: BESSET Jean-Paul group: ECR name: FOX Ashley group: GUE/NGL name: CHOUNTIS Nikolaos responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2013-06-18T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: EFD name: TERHO Sampo body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
  • date: 2013-12-17T00:00:00 body: EP type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading committees: body: EP shadows: group: PPE name: LANGEN Werner group: S&D name: MIZZI Marlene group: ALDE name: TORVALDS Nils group: Verts/ALE name: BESSET Jean-Paul group: ECR name: FOX Ashley group: GUE/NGL name: CHOUNTIS Nikolaos responsible: True committee: ECON date: 2013-06-18T00:00:00 committee_full: Economic and Monetary Affairs rapporteur: group: EFD name: TERHO Sampo body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee: IMCO body: EP responsible: False committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI
  • date: 2014-01-06T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2014-0005&language=EN type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading title: A7-0005/2014 body: EP type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading
  • date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=23910&l=en type: Results of vote in Parliament title: Results of vote in Parliament url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2014-0076 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading title: T7-0076/2014 body: EP type: Results of vote in Parliament
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docs
  • date: 2013-09-25T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE519.700 title: PE519.700 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2013-10-23T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE522.761 title: PE522.761 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2014-06-18T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=23910&j=0&l=en title: SP(2014)414 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2013-04-16T00:00:00 type: Non-legislative basic document published body: EC docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2013/0213/COM_COM(2013)0213_EN.pdf title: COM(2013)0213 url: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!DocNumber&lg=EN&type_doc=COMfinal&an_doc=2013&nu_doc=213 title: EUR-Lex summary: PURPOSE: to present a Green Paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters. BACKGROUND: the European Union is vulnerable to nearly all types of natural disasters. Disasters not only cause human losses but also damages to the value of billions of euros every year, affecting economic stability and growth. Disasters may have cross-border effects and can potentially threaten entire areas in neighbouring countries. Even where costs of major disasters are locally concentrated, if costs are inadequately covered by insurance then individual Member States may carry large fiscal burdens, which could cause internal and external imbalances . This is thus an important issue for citizens, companies and governments across the Union. In 2010, the Council adopted a series of conclusions in which it invited the Commission to evaluate and report on the potential for the European Union to facilitate and support increased coverage of appropriate disaster risk insurance and financial risk transfer markets, as well as regional insurance pooling, in terms of knowledge transfer, cooperation, or seed financing. This Green Paper poses a number of questions concerning the adequacy and availability of appropriate disaster insurance and accompanies the Communication entitled " An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change ". CONTENT: the objective is to raise awareness and to assess whether or not action at EU level could be appropriate or warranted to improve the market for disaster insurance in the European Union. More generally, this process will also: expand the knowledge base, help to promote insurance as a tool of disaster management and thus contribute to a shift towards a general culture of disaster risk prevention and mitigation, bring in further data and information. Next steps : the Commission invites stakeholders to comment on all the issues set out in this Green Paper. On the basis of the outcome of this consultation, the Commission will decide on the best course of action to take on the issues outlined in this Green Paper, including legislative measures, as appropriate . Stakeholders are invited to send their comments before 30 June 2013.
  • date: 2013-09-12T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2013-12-17T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2014-01-06T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2014-0005&language=EN title: A7-0005/2014 summary: The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Sampo TERHO (EFD, FI) on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters in response to the Commission Green Paper on the subject. Members note that the situation in the EU insurance market is heterogeneous because Member States are exposed to different risks and natural catastrophes and the predictability of a natural catastrophe depends on different factors (meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, etc.). They recall that between 1980 and 2011 a small number of big events gave rise to about half of all costs related to weather events. Accordingly, the report calls for prevention and information measures in order to protecting people and avoid losses caused by unexpected events. To prevent environmental risks, it suggests more research in partnership with insurance companies in order to better understand the issues involved, thus preparing citizens and their communities for risks related to natural catastrophes. Members also consider that information is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters, and call for closer cooperation between Member States and the private sector in this area. At European level, the committee favoured the sharing of best practice on risk prevention and mitigation amongst Member States and regionally. It pointed out that the involvement of local authorities in decisions concerning city planning and urban development could improve natural catastrophe management. It called for Member States and public authorities to take adequate preventive measures in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and to create and maintain crisis response units. Insurance market: whilst welcoming the Commission’s Green Paper, Members note that natural and man-made disasters need different types of insurance and are covered by two different insurance markets. Such disasters cannot be treated together even if there are cases of man-made decisions aggravating exposure to a natural catastrophe risk. Members underline that the EU should not create overlapping and contradicting liability rules. Most Member States already have some form of insurance-based system for floods and other natural damage, but the system can be supplemented with state funds to compensate for those assets that cannot be privately insured. State funds may also compensate for insurance claims exceeding the maximum amounts or for otherwise exceptionally heavy damage . The report also takes the view that a Member State may participate in compensation for damage by providing reinsurance . It stated, however, that these systems differ in many respects, and it is not prudent or necessary to unify them. Recalling that natural catastrophes affect both private households and business activities, the committee encourages insurance companies to take risk-based pricing as a central approach to disaster insurance. It invites Member States to propose incentives to encourage citizens to protect themselves and insure their property against damage , and incentives responding to insurance needs in terms of environmental liability, e.g. for enterprises in mining or in the gas, chemical or nuclear sectors. Insurance companies, for their part, are invited to clarify contracts for consumers and to provide information on available options and their impact on the price of cover, in order to ensure adequate consumer choice. Insurance companies must provide clear and comprehensible information for clients and prospective clients. Risk-based pricing should be central to the availability of insurance coverage. Non-mandatory insurance : Members recall that in the end it is the state or the regional authorities that bear much of the indirect or direct cost burden for damage, be the causes natural or man-made. They suggest that Member States and regional authorities should recognise the importance of risk prevention and should make it a pillar of investment strategy , since it is more efficient to minimise the consequences of disasters instead of just providing cover and repairing damage afterwards. Underlining the risk of moral hazard if citizens assume that their government would be using public resources from the national budget to cover their losses, Members are critical of actions which may discourage citizens or communities from taking measures to protect themselves. Citizens should carry their share of responsibility and compensation should not cover all damage. Members recall that individual responsibility in this sector has to be maintained, and is aware of the efforts made by Member States to combine the promotion of individual responsibility with intervention by government. In conclusion, Members consider that there is no market distortion in this field to justify intervention at European level , and do not think that a one-size-fits-all solution would be feasible for this issue. They recall that tailor-made insurance products depend on many elements, such as type of risks, their probable quantity and quality, culture of prevention, the state of preparedness and capacity for action and the approach taken by Member States and regional authorities concerning risk monitoring and preparation. The committee considers that a flexible natural catastrophe insurance market allows insurance companies to adapt products to different conditions, and believes that a non-mandatory framework is the best way to develop products that match with natural risks in a given geographical area.
  • date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=23910&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P7-TA-2014-0076 title: T7-0076/2014 summary: The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters in response to the Commission Green Paper on the subject. Parliament noted that the situation in the EU insurance market is heterogeneous because Member States are exposed to different risks and natural catastrophes and the predictability of a natural catastrophe depends on different factors (meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, etc.). It recalled that between 1980 and 2011, a small number of big events gave rise to about half of all costs related to weather events. Accordingly, Parliament called for prevention and information measures in order to protect people and avoid losses caused by unexpected events. To prevent environmental risks, it suggested more research in partnership with insurance companies in order to better understand the issues involved, thus preparing citizens and their communities for risks related to natural catastrophes. Members also considered that information is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters, and called for closer cooperation between Member States and the private sector in this area. At European level, Parliament favoured the sharing of best practice on risk prevention and mitigation amongst Member States and regionally. It pointed out that the involvement of local authorities in decisions concerning city planning and urban development could improve natural catastrophe management. It called for Member States and public authorities to take adequate preventive measures in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and to create and maintain crisis response units. Insurance market: whilst welcoming the Commission’s Green Paper, Parliament noted that natural and man-made disasters need different types of insurance and are covered by two different insurance markets. Such disasters cannot be treated together even if there are cases of man-made decisions aggravating exposure to a natural catastrophe risk. It underlined that the EU should not create overlapping and contradicting liability rules. Most Member States already have some form of insurance-based system for floods and other natural damage, but the system can be supplemented with state funds to compensate for those assets that cannot be privately insured. State funds may also compensate for insurance claims exceeding the maximum amounts or for otherwise exceptionally heavy damage . The resolution also took the view that a Member State may participate in compensation for damage by providing reinsurance . It stated, however, that these systems differ in many respects, and it is not prudent or necessary to unify them. Recalling that natural catastrophes affect both private households and business activities, Parliament encouraged insurance companies to take risk-based pricing as a central approach to disaster insurance. It invited Member States to propose incentives to encourage citizens to protect themselves and insure their property against damage , and incentives responding to insurance needs in terms of environmental liability, e.g. for enterprises in mining or in the gas, chemical or nuclear sectors. Insurance companies, for their part, are invited to clarify contracts for consumers and to provide information on available options and their impact on the price of cover, in order to ensure adequate consumer choice. Insurance companies must provide clear and comprehensible information for clients and prospective clients. Risk-based pricing should be central to the availability of insurance coverage. Parliament recognised the need for consumers to understand what type of coverage they have and how it would operate when risks materialise. Consumers should be fully informed of all terms and conditions, including the procedures for withdrawal from a contract and for making complaints and the deadlines applicable in such procedures, when buying insurance products and before signing a contract. It believed that the protection of consumers must be a concern of the EU and the Member States. Non-mandatory insurance : Parliament recalled that in the end it is the state or the regional authorities that bear much of the indirect or direct cost burden for damage, be the causes natural or man-made. They suggested that Member States and regional authorities should recognise the importance of risk prevention and should make it a pillar of investment strategy , since it is more efficient to minimise the consequences of disasters instead of just providing cover and repairing damage afterwards. Underlining the risk of moral hazard if citizens assume that their government would be using public resources from the national budget to cover their losses, Members were critical of actions which may discourage citizens or communities from taking measures to protect themselves. Citizens should carry their share of responsibility and compensation should not cover all damage. Members recalled that individual responsibility in this sector has to be maintained, and is aware of the efforts made by Member States to combine the promotion of individual responsibility with intervention by government. In conclusion, Parliament considered that there is no market distortion in this field to justify intervention at European level , and do not think that a one-size-fits-all solution would be feasible for this issue. It recalled that tailor-made insurance products depend on many elements, such as type of risks, their probable quantity and quality, culture of prevention, the state of preparedness and capacity for action and the approach taken by Member States and regional authorities concerning risk monitoring and preparation. Members considered that a flexible natural catastrophe insurance market allows insurance companies to adapt products to different conditions, and believed that a non-mandatory framework is the best way to develop products that match with natural risks in a given geographical area.
  • date: 2014-02-05T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
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  • body: EC dg: url: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/internal_market/ title: Internal Market and Services commissioner: GEORGIEVA Kristalina
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  • The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted the own-initiative report by Sampo TERHO (EFD, FI) on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters in response to the Commission Green Paper on the subject.

    Members note that the situation in the EU insurance market is heterogeneous because Member States are exposed to different risks and natural catastrophes and the predictability of a natural catastrophe depends on different factors (meteorological, hydrological, geophysical, etc.). They recall that between 1980 and 2011 a small number of big events gave rise to about half of all costs related to weather events.

    Accordingly, the report calls for prevention and information measures in order to protecting people and avoid losses caused by unexpected events.

    To prevent environmental risks, it suggests more research in partnership with insurance companies in order to better understand the issues involved, thus preparing citizens and their communities for risks related to natural catastrophes.

    Members also consider that information is crucial for the prevention and mitigation of such disasters, and call for closer cooperation between Member States and the private sector in this area.

    At European level, the committee favoured the sharing of best practice on risk prevention and mitigation amongst Member States and regionally. It pointed out that the involvement of local authorities in decisions concerning city planning and urban development could improve natural catastrophe management. It called for Member States and public authorities to take adequate preventive measures in order to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters and to create and maintain crisis response units.

    Insurance market: whilst welcoming the Commission’s Green Paper, Members note that natural and man-made disasters need different types of insurance and are covered by two different insurance markets. Such disasters cannot be treated together even if there are cases of man-made decisions aggravating exposure to a natural catastrophe risk. Members underline that the EU should not create overlapping and contradicting liability rules.

    Most Member States already have some form of insurance-based system for floods and other natural damage, but the system can be supplemented with state funds to compensate for those assets that cannot be privately insured. State funds may also compensate for insurance claims exceeding the maximum amounts or for otherwise exceptionally heavy damage. The report also takes the view that a Member State may participate in compensation for damage by providing reinsurance. It stated, however, that these systems differ in many respects, and it is not prudent or necessary to unify them.

    Recalling that natural catastrophes affect both private households and business activities, the committee encourages insurance companies to take risk-based pricing as a central approach to disaster insurance. It invites Member States to propose incentives to encourage citizens to protect themselves and insure their property against damage, and incentives responding to insurance needs in terms of environmental liability, e.g. for enterprises in mining or in the gas, chemical or nuclear sectors.

    Insurance companies, for their part, are invited to clarify contracts for consumers and to provide information on available options and their impact on the price of cover, in order to ensure adequate consumer choice. Insurance companies must provide clear and comprehensible information for clients and prospective clients. Risk-based pricing should be central to the availability of insurance coverage.

    Non-mandatory insurance: Members recall that in the end it is the state or the regional authorities that bear much of the indirect or direct cost burden for damage, be the causes natural or man-made. They suggest that Member States and regional authorities should recognise the importance of risk prevention and should make it a pillar of investment strategy, since it is more efficient to minimise the consequences of disasters instead of just providing cover and repairing damage afterwards.

    Underlining the risk of moral hazard if citizens assume that their government would be using public resources from the national budget to cover their losses, Members are critical of actions which may discourage citizens or communities from taking measures to protect themselves. Citizens should carry their share of responsibility and compensation should not cover all damage.

    Members recall that individual responsibility in this sector has to be maintained, and is aware of the efforts made by Member States to combine the promotion of individual responsibility with intervention by government.

    In conclusion, Members consider that there is no market distortion in this field to justify intervention at European level, and do not think that a one-size-fits-all solution would be feasible for this issue. They recall that tailor-made insurance products depend on many elements, such as type of risks, their probable quantity and quality, culture of prevention, the state of preparedness and capacity for action and the approach taken by Member States and regional authorities concerning risk monitoring and preparation. The committee considers that a flexible natural catastrophe insurance market allows insurance companies to adapt products to different conditions, and believes that a non-mandatory framework is the best way to develop products that match with natural risks in a given geographical area.

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  • PURPOSE: to present a Green Paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters.

    BACKGROUND: the European Union is vulnerable to nearly all types of natural disasters. Disasters not only cause human losses but also damages to the value of billions of euros every year, affecting economic stability and growth.

    Disasters may have cross-border effects and can potentially threaten entire areas in neighbouring countries. Even where costs of major disasters are locally concentrated, if costs are inadequately covered by insurance then individual Member States may carry large fiscal burdens, which could cause internal and external imbalances. This is thus an important issue for citizens, companies and governments across the Union.

    In 2010, the Council adopted a series of conclusions in which it invited the Commission to evaluate and report on the potential for the European Union to facilitate and support increased coverage of appropriate disaster risk insurance and financial risk transfer markets, as well as regional insurance pooling, in terms of knowledge transfer, cooperation, or seed financing.

    This Green Paper poses a number of questions concerning the adequacy and availability of appropriate disaster insurance and accompanies the Communication entitled "An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change".

    CONTENT: the objective is to raise awareness and to assess whether or not action at EU level could be appropriate or warranted to improve the market for disaster insurance in the European Union.

    More generally, this process will also:

    • expand the knowledge base,
    • help to promote insurance as a tool of disaster management and thus contribute to a shift towards a general culture of disaster risk prevention and mitigation,
    • bring in further data and information.

    Next steps: the Commission invites stakeholders to comment on all the issues set out in this Green Paper.

    On the basis of the outcome of this consultation, the Commission will decide on the best course of action to take on the issues outlined in this Green Paper, including legislative measures, as appropriate.

    Stakeholders are invited to send their comments before 30 June 2013.

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  • PURPOSE: to present a Green Paper on the insurance of natural and man-made disasters.

    BACKGROUND: the European Union is vulnerable to nearly all types of natural disasters. Disasters not only cause human losses but also damages to the value of billions of euros every year, affecting economic stability and growth.

    Disasters may have cross-border effects and can potentially threaten entire areas in neighbouring countries. Even where costs of major disasters are locally concentrated, if costs are inadequately covered by insurance then individual Member States may carry large fiscal burdens, which could cause internal and external imbalances. This is thus an important issue for citizens, companies and governments across the Union.

    In 2010, the Council adopted a series of conclusions in which it invited the Commission to evaluate and report on the potential for the European Union to facilitate and support increased coverage of appropriate disaster risk insurance and financial risk transfer markets, as well as regional insurance pooling, in terms of knowledge transfer, cooperation, or seed financing.

    This Green Paper poses a number of questions concerning the adequacy and availability of appropriate disaster insurance and accompanies the Communication entitled "An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change".

    CONTENT: the objective is to raise awareness and to assess whether or not action at EU level could be appropriate or warranted to improve the market for disaster insurance in the European Union.

    More generally, this process will also:

    • expand the knowledge base,
    • help to promote insurance as a tool of disaster management and thus contribute to a shift towards a general culture of disaster risk prevention and mitigation,
    • bring in further data and information.

    Next steps: the Commission invites stakeholders to comment on all the issues set out in this Green Paper.

    On the basis of the outcome of this consultation, the Commission will decide on the best course of action to take on the issues outlined in this Green Paper, including legislative measures, as appropriate.

    Stakeholders are invited to send their comments before 30 June 2013.

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