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France to implement measures to help insurers in low-interest environment

France is planning to implement measures that would ease the pressure on insurers' prudential ratios in the low interest rate scenario, Les Echos reported.

The financial daily said the government will sign off a decree in the coming days allowing life insurers to take back part or all of the provision for profit sharing, which belongs to insured parties. The provision is designed to smooth out life insurance returns, and the decision comes at a time when negative rates are eroding life insurers' solvency, according to the Dec. 18 report.

The decree will give France's banking and insurance supervisor, the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution, the power to authorize an insurer "in exceptional circumstances" to draw on its reserve for insured parties, according to Les Echos.

Some French life insurers had had to take recapitalization measures, the paper said.

For example, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa SACC has recapitalized life insurance subsidiary Suravenir to the tune of €540 million, and Groupe BPCE's BRED unit has injected €40 million in its Prepar-Vie life insurance business, Les Echos said.