The Financial Market Authority (FMA) recently published a new circular concerning key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products. The FMA had already published a revised version of its circular on sound remuneration policies and practices on January 19 2018.
The National Council of Private Insurance recently submitted for public consultation a draft regulation on the acceptance of retrocession by insurers and its intermediation. Among other things, the draft regulation allows insurers to accept retrocession risks from foreign reinsurers not registered with the Superintendence of Private Insurers (SUSEP) through foreign reinsurance brokers also not registered with the SUSEP, provided that the local insurer is authorised to operate in the lines of risks accepted.
The Superintendence of Private Insurance recently published Circular 553, which establishes new general guidelines on civil liability insurance policies for directors and officers, replacing the existing regulations on this matter. The new regulation, albeit flawed, has been welcomed by the market, as the previous D&O regulations did not reflect market practices.
The Brazilian Insurance Agency (SUSEP) recently published a circular to provide regulated companies (ie, insurers, reinsurers and private pension companies) with the possibility of entering into a commitment agreement for a change in conduct (known under the acronym 'TCAC' in Portuguese) with SUSEP. While TCACs are not a new instrument, the circular allows the parties to enter into an agreement establishing a reasonable period in which to change or adjust the company's conduct.
A new bill aimed at replacing the Brazilian insurance law will soon be submitted to the Senate and a new insurance law is likely to be enacted in 2017. In general, the bill is exceedingly protectionist towards insureds and so overly detailed that it creates a framework of rules that is confusing and conflicts with other existing laws and regulations not only of an insurance nature, but also of a civil procedure one (eg, the Arbitration Act and the Consumer Defence Code).
Superintendence of Private Insurance (SUSEP) Circular 541/2016 establishes general guidelines applicable to directors' and officers' insurance policies in relation to insurers' right to make direct payments to a third party, defence cost coverage and fines and contractual and administrative penalties. Although the new rule is an improvement, it has been much criticised by the insurance market and there has been a recent plea to SUSEP to suspend the rule's effects.
The Department of Finance Canada recently announced the launch of the first of a two-stage consultation process on the federal financial sector legislative and regulatory framework. In this first stage of the process, the department is seeking input on the trends that are highlighted in the paper, the implications of these trends and the areas where action is possible and desirable.
The securities and insurance regulator (SVS) recently published for comment the fifth version of its methodology for determining the risk-based capital of insurers. The latest version ‒ as well as the conceptual bases developed by the SVS for analysis, discussion and improvement ‒ includes a number of changes from the previous version and will be subject to public consultation until July 31 2017.
The China Insurance Regulatory Committee recently promulgated the new Measures for the Administration of Equity in Insurance Companies, which state that if the shareholding proportion of an insurer's foreign shareholders accounts for more than 25% of its registered capital, the relevant provisions of the measures must be applied by reference. This express inclusion of foreign-invested insurers represents a substantial shift away from current practice.
Since the end of 2017, the China Insurance Regulatory Committee has taken numerous regulatory measures to address disorder in the insurance market, some of which have brought certain domestic life insurers to task. The measures are notable, as they underline a renewed emphasis on controlling financial risks, which is of utmost concern for the government.
Following the resumption of bilateral trade treaty talks between China and the United States, a 100-day plan was mooted which promised to improve trade ties going forward. One area of focus in this regard has been the foreign ownership limits that apply to inbound investment in Chinese financial services groups, including those pertaining to the country's insurance industry. This policy shift has given rise to expectations that further foreign investment in the insurance industry will increase significantly.
China's shift towards a knowledge-based digital economy is fuelling growth in the insurance sector, which aligns with the government's plan to double the rate of insurance penetration by 2020. By this date, insurance premium income is expected to have reached Rmb4.5 trillion. If this aim is achieved, China will have usurped the United States to become the world's largest insurance market, which bodes well for overseas insurers looking to participate in the domestic market.
A new wave of 'insurtech' companies (ie, insurers engaging with online distribution models and tech companies foraying into insurance) are recognising the gains to be made by entering into this emerging market. However, these developments by no means spell the end of the larger, more traditional Chinese insurers, which are adapting their longer-term business development strategies in response.