European Insurers Fall After Regulator Asks for Dividend Suspensions
By Pietro Lombardi and Adam Clark
The European Union's insurance regulator has asked insurers and
reinsurers in the region to temporarily suspend dividends and
consider a postponement of bonuses amid the coronavirus pandemic,
knocking stocks across the sector.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority late
Thursday urged insurers to have a prudent approach to shareholders'
remuneration and variable pay. It wants insurers and reinsurers to
preserve their capital position and ability to absorb potential
losses, as well as ensure the continuity of their services.
The advice sent share insurers' share prices dropping across the
continent. The biggest fallers were Dutch companies NN Group N.V.
and Aegon N.V. which both fell over 9%. Also hard hit were France's
CNP Assurances and the U.K.'s Legal & General Group PLC,
trading down around 7%. The U.K. still follows European insurance
regulation during the Brexit transition.
Some major European insurers have recently said they continue to
expect to pay their previously declared 2019 dividends, including
Germany's Allianz SE and Munich Re which both traded down around 2%
in morning trading on Friday.
Insurers and reinsurers "should ensure that their assessment of
the overall solvency needs is forward-looking, taking due account
of the current level of uncertainty on the depth, magnitude and
duration of the impacts of COVID-19," the Authority said.
"In such context, the variable part of remuneration policies
should be set at a conservative level and should be considered for
postponement," it added.
Write to Pietro Lombardi at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 03, 2020 05:00 ET (09:00 GMT)
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