Solvency II and the language of insurance

by Andrea Rietmann

Navigating the maze of supervisory law

The new rules for insurance supervision in the EU, known as “Solvency II”, involve a whole range of new reporting requirements for companies in this industry. In the fitting surroundings of Frankfurt’s banking district, I took part in a training seminar in early October 2016 entitled “Capital Markets – English Language Services” with two first-class trainers from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (German: BaFin).

Sibylle Schulz, who herself worked on the development of the new European insurance supervision regime, presented the components (“pillars”) of solvency II in detail. In a terminology workshop led by Christiane Stein, typical translation problems were then discussed. There are a series of key terms that cause problems for translators time and again.

I learnt a great deal from this seminar and enjoyed having the opportunity to exchange experiences with experts and colleagues.


Supervisory changes following the 2008 financial crisis

As a result of the financial crisis of 2008, insurance supervision at the European level was stepped up. The shortcomings that became clear in the crisis needed to be remedied. Part of these efforts also involved establishing the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), which is based in Frankfurt. Their working language is English.

A complex new set of rules has since been created. The associated guidelines, directives, technical standards and implementation rules were discussed and developed in English. However, when the finished results were translated into the official EU languages, a number of problems arose due to the various different legal traditions and legal terminology of the EU member states, and some of these problems had not been considered beforehand.


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