Central Bank’s insurance chief signals exit

Sylvia Cronin opts not to renew five-year contract

The Central Bank's head of insurance Sylvia Cronin is set to leave the regulator at the end of September after deciding not to renew her existing five-year contract.

Ms Cronin joined the bank in 2014 as the general insurance industry was loss-making amid soaring personal injury awards and dwindling income from their investment portfolios. She oversaw a review of claims payouts the following year that prompted a number of insurers to beef up their reserves to cover car-crash, workplace and other injuries.

As director of insurance supervision, Ms Cronin was responsible for Irish insurers being ready for a new European Union regulatory regime, known as Solvency II, that came into effect in 2016 and placed additional requirements around capital, governance and risk management across the industry.

More recently, Ms Cronin’s division has been dealing with a surge in applications for authorisation from groups seeking to set up insurance companies in Ireland to maintain access to customers in the EU following Brexit. To date, the regulator has approved 14 Brexit-related submissions for new authorisations and notifications of material changes of business for existing firms.

"I am grateful to Sylvia for all her endeavours over the last five years, in what has been a period of significant change and many challenges," Central Bank deputy governor Ed Sibley said in a staff email issued this week announcing Ms Cronin's exit plan.

Mr Sibley said Ms Cronin had made a "significant contribution internationally" representing the bank at the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and International Association of Insurance Supervisors.

Ms Cronin is understood to currently have no firm plans, but is expected to return to the private sector where she has spent most of her career. She joined the Central Bank from Augura Life Ireland, where she had served as chief executive for four years.

Ms Cronin, who started her insurance career with the Fortis Group, also worked for the AXA group for several years where she was head of business development, services and marketing. She also served for a period as chief executive of Dublin-based MGM International Assurance.