The Romanian Financial Supervisory Authority (“FSA”) recently issued Norm 19/2018 (“Norm 19”) which further regulates insurance distribution in Romania, after the enactment of Law no. 236/2018 (which implemented the Insurance Distribution Directive earlier in 2018).
Norm 19 was published in the Official Gazette on 21 December 2018 and it entered into force on the same date. It brings new and cumbersome conditions on the ability of EU-based insurance distributors (including insurers) operating in Romania on the ‘freedom of services’ (“FOS”) basis and is likely have an adverse effect on such distributors.
Briefly, Norm 19:
(i) defines “insurance distribution on the basis of FOS” as that activity carried out in Romania by an EU-based insurance distributor on the basis of FOS, either (a) directly, through communication means, such as telephone, Internet, email; or (b) on a temporary basis, subject to the conditions described below.
(ii) insurance distribution in Romania on a FOS basis is deemed to be “temporary”:
(a) if all of the conditions below are cumulatively met:
- the collaboration between the EU-based insurance undertaking operating in Romania on the basis of FOS and a primary insurance intermediary (authorised by the Romanian FSA) is done only if the primary intermediary has already concluded a brokerage/intermediation mandate with a client and that client has requested the insurance product of the EU-based insurance undertaking or if the product was requested by a consumer;
- the duration of this collaboration between the insurer and the Romanian-based primary intermediary does not exceed 3 years; and
- where the EU-based insurance undertaking offering insurance in Romania on a FOS basis retains other services providers (for the purposes of obtaining technical support necessary for the activity), such services are not continuous and are performed on a ‘one-off’ basis;
(b) if the distribution is done through an appointed management agent, provided that of the conditions listed in (a) above are met.
(iii) with respect to the “management agent” Norm 19:
(a) defines the management agent as a legal or natural person, headquartered or residing in Romania, which is empowered by a EU-based insurer offering insurance in Romania on a FOS basis to coordinate a network of local providers (including insurance intermediaries and ancillary intermediaries), based on the power granted by the insurer;
(b) provides that the management agent is not an insurance intermediary or an ancillary insurance intermediary; and
(c) authorises/permits the FSA to request information and documents from management agents to allow the FSA to monitor and supervise the activity performed in Romania by the EU-based insurer.
As Norm 19 entered into force upon publication, there was no transitional period to allow EU-based insurers already operating in Romania on the basis of FOS to implement mechanisms to comply with the new rules. Formally speaking, this means that, as of 21 December 2018, EU-based insurers already operating in Romania on a FOS basis may be considered in breach of Romanian law if they do not already comply with Norm 19.
For more information about this issue, please contact Cristina Popescu.