Brexit: Executive order on UK insurance companies carrying out business in Denmark
As the United Kingdom has withdrawn from the European Union and the transition period has expired, the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has issued an executive order authorising certain insurance companies with head office in the United Kingdom to carry on business in Denmark.
The United Kingdom (UK) formally left the EU as of 31 January 2020 and has since then been in a transition period during which EU law was still applicable in the UK. The transition period has ended on 31 December 2020, and accordingly EU law no longer applies in the UK. Consequently, the UK is no longer covered by e.g. the single market rules, including the right to set up a business and provide services under EU law.
This means that UK insurance companies that have entered into insurance contracts covering risks in Denmark –
absent other authority –
lose the right to conduct cross-border insurance business in Denmark.
The executive order
The executive order ensures that Danish policy holders are not left without legal insurance coverage. Thus, UK insurance companies which after 31 December 2020 still hold portfolios covering risks in Denmark may continue servicing such insurance contracts.
Pursuant to the executive order, insurance companies which on 31 December 2020 are registered as providers of life and non-life insurance in Denmark will as a main rule maintain their authorisation to provide services (carry out insurance business) in Denmark and will thus maintain the right to service existing contracts (entered into before 31 December 2020) – but only until 31 December 2021.
Insurance companies must satisfy the conditions in the executive order in order to service existing insurance contracts only, and are not permitted to renew existing policies or write enter into new insurance contracts.
In order to maintain their authorisation, the UK insurance companies must satisfy the following conditions:
- the insurance company must have its head office in the UK;
- the insurance company must have authorisation to carry on insurance business, including reinsurance business, under UK law;
- the insurance company must by 31 December 2020 be registered with the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority as provider of life and non-life insurance in Denmark.
Furthermore, UK insurance companies must meet the other requirements set out in the executive order, including the requirement to report various information to the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority.
The business activities in Denmark carried on by the insurance companies must – as hitherto – comply with good business practice within the business area as set out in the executive order on good business practice for insurance distributors.
Entry into force
This executive order entered into force on 1 January 2021. The authorisation to carry out insurance business in Denmark pursuant to the executive order is, as mentioned, limited to insurance contracts entered into before 31 December 2020, and the authorisation will only remain in force until 31 December 2021.
The authorisation being temporary, UK insurance companies with contracts covering Danish risks will – unless a further extension is granted – have to transfer those insurance contracts to an insurance company with head office in Denmark (or in another EU/EEA state) if they have not done so already. Alternatively, they will have to terminate those insurance contracts to expire no later than 31 December 2021.