11 June 2011

Guest Post: Using XBRL for Solvency II reporting

XBRL is a global standard, and while Random Comments tends to focus on the US and the SEC Mandate, it is important to look well beyond, and see the range of other applications and projects that will leverage the power of XBRL. When we survey the landscape of business reporting, Insurance is clearly an area of significant information exchange that would benefit from the unique strengths of XBRL for business reporting and information interchange.

Gideon Benari is the editor of Solvency II Wire [www.solvencyiiwire.com], a website dedicated to news and insights on Solvency II, the European insurance directive which is due to come into effect on 1 January 2013. He recently wrote an article posted on the XBRLBlog. Here he provides us a summary (with link to the full article). 

Using XBRL for Solvency II reporting

Solvency II, the new regulation for the European insurance industry, will use XBRL as its reporting standard. Solvency II is a risk-based regulation that will affect capital adequacy requirements, governance and reporting standards across Europe.

The eXtensible Business Reporting Language format, essentially a sophisticated form of text mark up, facilitates the transfer of data between financial organisations in a standardised way. This will allow regulators to make like-for-like comparisons of data from insurers across Europe.

One reason XBRL is suited for Solvency II reporting is that the taxonomies can be extended to local level. According to a study published in the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance (2010)* examining the use of XBRL for Solvency II, “Once a taxonomy has been created at the European level, extensions can be added to cover the particular features of national regulatory frameworks, thus ensuring the homogeneity of the system of information while giving it the flexibility that the framework requires.”

Solvency II is due to be implemented in January 2013. Currently the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is working out the finer details of the regulation.

Commenting on EIOPA’s decision to use XBRL, Anthony Fragnito, CPA, CEO of XBRL International, said, "The EIOPA mandate for XBRL in the pension and insurance sector is a critical step toward the transparency and process improvement benefits of XBRL to insurance and risk management, and expands the XBRL footprint across the financial services and capital markets sectors."

The full version of the article “XBsRoLvency II: Say it with XBRL” can be found on the XBRL Magazine Blog. Further details on Solvency II and XBRL can be found at Solvency II Wire.


*    Enrique Bonsón, Virginia Cortijo, Tomas Escobar, Francisco Flores, Sergio Monreal, (2010) “Solvency II and XBRL: new rules and technologies in insurance supervision”, Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Vol. 18 Iss: 2, pp.144 – 157.

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