May 14, 2019

IA of Hong Kong proposed to take over the regulation of insurance intermediaries from three Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) on September 23, 2019 (commencement date), with the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 (Commencement) Notice 2019 to be gazetted in May 2019 to complete the prerequisite. The SROs comprise the Insurance Agents Registration Board (established under the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers), the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers, and the Professional Insurance Brokers Association. The takeover will mark a major milestone and a reformatory change for the insurance industry as IA will become the sole regulator of all insurance intermediaries in Hong Kong.

The new regulatory regime for insurance intermediaries will help enhance professional standards of insurance intermediaries, promote a fair and transparent regulatory framework, and encourage a modern and flexible approach to increase regulatory efficiency. On the commencement date, the remaining provisions of the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 will come into operation, together with an array of regulatory requirements for implementation of the new regulatory regime. Till now, IA has formulated the two set of rules, which are subsidiary legislation, and is finalizing other codes and guidelines in phases—Insurance (Maximum Number of Authorized Insurers) Rules and Insurance (Financial and Other Requirements for Licensed Insurance Broker Companies) Rules.

IA aims to ensure a successful and smooth transition to the new regime and is working closely with the SROs to prepare for the necessary handover arrangements. Insurance intermediaries that are "validly registered" with the SROs immediately before the commencement date will be deemed as licensees under the new regime. Those who are validly registered as responsible officers of insurance agencies or chief executives of insurance brokers will also be deemed as responsible officers of licensed insurance agencies or licensed insurance broker companies as appropriate under the new regime. Arrangements for online application for formal licences to be made by deemed licensees will be announced by IA after the commencement date. Complaints and disciplinary cases that are unresolved by the SROs before the commencement date will be handled by the IA but with reference to the relevant codes, guidance notes, and guidelines issued by the SROs.

 

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Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, Insurance, Self-Regulatory Organizations, Regulatory Framework, Insurance Intermediaries, IA

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