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APRA steps up scrutiny in response to pandemic

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) questioned insurers about their pandemic business continuity plans in early February and has more recently requested an update.

The regulator is seeking details on potential financial impacts on both insurance and investment.

The stepped-up scrutiny comes as the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world, killing more than 10,000 across 179 countries and territories and decimating stocks markets and industry.

APRA says its COVID-19 response is focused on ensuring pandemic readiness among regulated entities, and assessing the potential financial impacts of the outbreak.

“APRA has been liaising with its regulated population on this issue for some weeks and is satisfied that the institutions at the core of the financial system are very alert to the risks to their businesses and initiating appropriate contingency planning to deal with a range of scenarios,” an APRA spokesperson told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We continue to undertake targeted testing of those plans.”

APRA is regularly engaging with regulated entities and has asked them to proactively notify the regulator of any material changes to business activities resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are adjusting our supervisory plans where necessary to take account of the current environment,” APRA says.