The Global Federation of Insurance Associations Forms to Address International Regulatory Concerns Such as ComFrame and Systemic Risk

Insurance Associations from around the world have formed the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) to address the concerns of the insurance industry on an international scale.
The newly-created Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA), which held its inaugural meeting on October 9, 2012 in Washington, D.C., was formed by thirty-one (31) insurance industry associations from across the world.

The GFIA will coordinate the legislative, regulatory and public relations work of its members.
The GFIA was formed as a global conglomeration of associations representing insurance companies, reinsurance companies, professional associations and other entities in the insurance industry to coordinate the various legislative, regulatory and public relations work of its member associations. According to a GFIA press release:
The GFIA will be active in commenting on a broad range of issues affecting the international insurance industry, including developments in the systemic risk debate; the work of the IAIS in developing ComFrame, the common framework for the supervision of international groups; market conduct and trade issues; and initiatives in relation to financial inclusion and anti-money laundering.[1]
The GFIA appears to be an industry complement to the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) that was established in 1994 and which now represents insurance regulators and supervisors in approximately 190 jurisdictions worldwide.[2]

The IAIS appears to support the new GFIA:
Welcoming the creation of the global federation, Peter Braumüller, chairman of the executive committee of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), said: “As the global insurance standard-setter, the IAIS values greatly the contributions of IAIS observers — who represent international institutions, professional associations and insurance and reinsurance companies — to the development and implementation of IAIS supervisory material. We look forward to working with GFIA and its members as we all continue to promote effective and globally-consistent supervision of the insurance industry.”[3]
The GFIA represents about 87% of the global insurance industry.
The GFIA member associations are not themselves in the business of writing, issuing and selling insurance policies; rather, they are trade associations, advocacy groups and similar organizations that are themselves composed of individual participants including insurance companies, producers and other entities in the insurance business. Together, the GFIA member associations claim an aggregate membership representing approximately eighty-seven percent (87%) of the global insurance industry.[4]

Founding associations of the GFIA include a number of associations based in the United States, such as the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the American Insurance Association (AIA), the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).[5]

Members from other countries include, among others, the All-Russian Insurance Association (ARIA), the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE), the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), the Federación Interamericana de Empresas de Seguros (FIDES), the General Insurance Association of Japan (GIAJ), the German Insurance Association (GDV), the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), Insurance Europe and the South African Insurance Association (SAIA).[6]

At its inaugural meeting, the GFIA elected its first officers: Frank Swedlove, chair; Recaredo Arias, vice-chair; and Michaela Koller, secretary. Swedlove currently serves as president of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association; Arias is the secretary general of the Federación Interamericana de Empresas de Seguros; and Koller is the director general of Insurance Europe.[7]
As the secretariat, Insurance Europe will undertake the significant work that will be required to support the GFIA’s initiatives in key areas of concern to the global insurance industry.[8]
One of those issues, as mentioned in the GFIA Press Release, is ComFrame – the Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups. ComFrame is a project driven by the IAIS to establish a "common framework" to guide insurance regulators and supervisors around the globe in working together to supervise holding companies and corporate groups that include entities engaging in business that is regulated by insurance regulators on an international scale.[9]

Another important topic for the GFIA is the "systemic risk" issue.
Another important topic for the GFIA is the "systemic risk" issue. Systemic risk is a general concept associated with systemic financial risk, or the risk that an event, or series of otherwise unrelated events, could have a substantial adverse impact on an entire financial system.[10]

In more practical terms, systemic risk involves the concern that a financial weakness or breakdown in one entity (such as a large, multi-national conglomerate) or several such entities, or even in one financial sector or industry, could spread – because of correlation, interdependence, public confidence or other financial or economic forces – to put an entire financial system at risk. The financial system at issue could be regional, national or even international.[11]

Recent efforts to address systemic risk by lawmakers and regulators in various countries around the world, including most prominently the United States and Europe, have been a significant concern of companies in the insurance business and the associations that represent them.

The GFIA press release announcing its formation is available here.

Propertycasualty360.com has a full list of the GFIA's founding members available here.


1Global Federation of Insurance Associations established, Press Release, Global Federation of Insurance Associations, October 9, 2012.
2About the IAIS, International Association of Insurance Supervisors, October 17, 2012.
3GFIA Press Release.
4 Global Federal of Insurance Associations Launched, Insurance Journal, October 10, 2012.
5New Global Insurer Association Seeks to Present Unified Industry Voice on International Matters, Elizabeth Festa, PropertyCasualty360.com, October 9, 2012.
6New Global Insurer Association..., id.
7GFIA Press Release.
8GFIA Press Release.
9Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Index of Insurance Topics, July 24, 2012.
10What is systemic risk, anyway?, macroblog, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, November 6, 2009
11What is systemic risk…, id.

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