In 2006 a claim was filed pertaining to a traffic accident in which the claimant had fallen off a moped and suffered a severe brain injury. The insurer rejected the claim in 2007. In 2011 the claimant discovered that the brain injury had caused permanent incapacity and a new insurance claim was filed, which the insurer rejected. The Supreme Court recently had to consider whether the exacerbation of damage starts a new period for a claim if it has already become time barred.
The new Motor Liability Insurance Act recently entered into force. The previous act dated from 1959 and required complete reform and modernisation to respond to existing and future needs. The new act is structured to follow the typical chronology of the underwriting and claims handling process and aims to promote competition by giving the insurance industry the opportunity to develop new products. This appears to be succeeding, as insurers have already launched new products.
The validity of legal expenses insurance can be problematic when ending business activities. A pharmacist terminated his legal expenses insurance after he retired and ended his business activities. Some time later he received a workers' compensation claim from a former employee. The pharmacist believed that the insurance would cover the matter, but the insurer rejected the claim because the event had occurred after the validity of the insurance.
The Financial Ombudsman Bureau recently issued a number of recommendations pertaining to insurers' rights to terminate cancer insurance policies, following on from its 2014 recommendations pertaining to the amendment of cancer insurance premiums and conditions. The recommendations reiterate that insurers cannot amend insurance contracts or terminate unprofitable contracts unless they draft the conditions carefully at the outset and fulfil their duty to inform.
In a recent appeal case the claimant discovered that an accident had caused permanent incapacity after the claimant had filed an insurance claim, which had been rejected. The claimant hence filed a new claim, which was rejected on the basis that it was time barred. However, the court held that the right to compensation is not time barred and that the insurer had to handle the new claim because the accident's effects had manifested after its first decision.
The Federal Court of Justice recently ruled that claims settlements by brokers on behalf of liability insurers constitute a violation of the Legal Service Act. The settlement of claims for insurers does not qualify as an accessory activity of the main activity of a broker, because a broker's main activity is to safeguard the assured's interests. It is not possible to represent the insurer's and the assured's interests simultaneously.
The Athens First Instance Court recently heard a case involving a law firm which sought to be indemnified from its professional indemnity underwriter. The policy covered a lawyer's professional liability while providing services within Greece and under Greek law. The insured claimed that he was entitled to indemnity not because the policy provided such cover, but rather because, among other things, he had requested such cover and the insurer had failed to include it in the policy.
The Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies recently hosted the 18th Hydra Insurance and Reinsurance Meeting. At the meeting, insurers and reinsurers from 24 countries around the world discussed specific concerns and issues that directly affect the industry, including how technological advancements have affected motor and health insurance and may do so in the future and how the vast majority of the population is unprotected against financial losses from catastrophic risks.
The Supreme Court for civil matters, sitting in plenary session, has issued a judgment on the validity of 'claims-made' policy clauses. Ending a long period of judicial uncertainty, the Supreme Court ruled that, insofar as insurance contracts covering professional risks are concerned, the claims-made principle is fully valid and enforceable. The insurance market has thus breathed a sigh of relief.
The Insurance Authority has launched two new initiatives to promote the use of 'insurtech' in Hong Kong and encourage insurers and technology companies to team up to develop innovative insurance technology in light of recent market trends. The initiatives aim to promote the development of new technologies in Hong Kong's insurance sector and maintain Hong Kong's competitiveness in the Asian market.
The Insurance Authority will begin to collect a levy from policyholders through premium payments to insurers from January 1 2018. Holders of life insurance policies and general insurance policies (eg, travel, motor, property and household) will be required to pay the levy; however, reinsurers, policies underwritten by captive insurers and marine, aviation and goods-in-transit businesses are exempt.
The Insurance Agents Registration Board recently initiated disciplinary proceedings against a former AIA International Limited agent for breaches of the Code of Practice issued by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers. The resulting disciplinary action included a payment order of HK$806,200 against AIA; however, this decision was reversed by the Court of First Instance following a judicial review.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission recently signed an agreement to conduct an equivalence assessment on the insurance solvency regulatory regimes of Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as to implement procedures and transitional arrangements to increase cooperation between the two insurance regulatory bodies.
The Hong Kong Financial Services Development Council recently released a report entitled Turning Crisis into Opportunities: Hong Kong as an Insurance Hub with Development Focuses on Reinsurance, Marine and Captive. Pointing out that Hong Kong is facing stiff competition from regional competitors, the report identifies opportunities to strengthen Hong Kong's position in the reinsurance and insurance industry.
There were a number of interesting developments in the Indian insurance industry in 2017, including a rapid increase in the number of insurers, new forms of online commerce and evolving business processes. From a regulatory perspective, 2017 also saw a continued overhaul of the existing insurance regulatory framework, with a slew of new regulations being introduced and existing guidance being amended and updated.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has recently been receiving requests to allow private equity funds to acquire a majority stake in Indian insurers. In response to such requests from private equity funds, venture funds and alternate investment funds, the IRDAI released new guidelines to facilitate and regulate private equity funds' investment in insurers as investors and promoters.
By way of a May 2017 order, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India set up the Reinsurance Expert Committee to make recommendations for, among other things, the efficient implementation and operation of the order of preference for cessions specified under the Branch Office Regulations. The committee recently released its report, providing its analysis and recommendations on the terms of reference prescribed under the order.
The draft Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017 has recently attracted significant attention. This is mainly due to the objections raised by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), among other parties. Although the exact nature of the IRDAI's objections to the bill are unclear, a balance may need to be struck between the powers of the existing sectoral regulators and the proposed Resolution Corporation.
As the Indian insurance market develops and matures further, Indian insurers and insurance intermediaries will aim to introduce public issues and list on recognised stock exchanges in order to raise more funds from the public and provide liquidity to their existing shareholders. Companies looking to be initial public offering ready should focus on ensuring optimum regulatory compliance and rectifying any identified compliance issues, which will go a long way in simplifying the process of listing.