A British MEP has suggested that Europe could hawe a single insurance regulator.

Europe could have a single super-regulator for insurance within five years, a British MEP has suggested.

A super-regulator could be seen as the logical next step after legislation changing the way insurance companies are regulated across Europe comes into force. The legislation is slated for 2010.

It would be a major step towards creating a single market, something insurance companies have long lobbied for, and would see insurance pass out of the jurisdiction of the FSA in the UK.

Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, who sits on the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs and legal affairs committees, admitted that the Solvency II legislation now passing through the parliament could lead to a single regulator.

She told Insurance Times: “It might evolve into something like a European regulator – you are looking at five to

ten years.”

Such a development would face fierce opposition from some of Europe’s 27 member states, who would be anxious to retain full control over financial regulation.

Regulators across Europe have already begun to work together and share information with the encouragement of the European Parliament, in preparation for Solvency II.

The new regime will see insurance groups operating across more than one European state, treated as a single entity for regulation purposes, and operating under a lead regulator based in the member state where they are headquartered.

The ABI said it was aware of the desire for a super-regulator in some part of Europe. “It’s got its attractions, but how it works would be the interesting question,” said a spokesman.