Hong Kong’s regulator sets date for broker handover

May 15 2019 by Andrew Tjaardstra

The Hong Kong government has set September 23 as the date on which the Insurance Authority (IA) will take over from the three self-regulatory intermediary bodies.

It will become responsible for all aspects of the regulation of insurance intermediaries in Hong Kong, including granting licences, conducting inspections and investigations in addition to imposing disciplinary sanctions.

“This exercise is a monumental phase of development for the insurance industry in Hong Kong,” said Moses Cheng, chairman of the IA. “We are confident that the new regime will help enhance the professionalism of insurance intermediaries, promote fair and transparent regulation, and instil a robust but flexible approach in fulfilling our statutory function of protecting policyholders.”

The IA has formulated two sets of rules that will take effect on September 23, subject to the progress of scrutiny by the Legislative Council. A suite of codes and guidelines for licensed insurance intermediaries will be published in the next few months.

The IA is also working closely with the industry to commission the Insurance Intermediary System, which features an online portal to facilitate electronic licence applications, the reporting of continuing professional development hours attained, and the updating of personal particulars.

Clement Cheung, chief executive of the IA, said: “We are immensely grateful to industry stakeholders for their advice, support and understanding throughout this challenging project. Looking ahead, we will continue to rely on this partnering spirit in shaping our enforcement strategies and protocols.”

To facilitate a smooth transition, all insurance intermediaries who are validly registered with the SROs immediately before September 23 will be deemed as licensees for a period of three years. The incumbent chief executives and responsible officers are also eligible for the transitional arrangements.

Furthermore, all complaints and non-compliance cases not yet resolved by the SROs as at September 23 will be followed up in accordance with the rules that would have applied had they not been handed over to the IA. In other words, the new regime does not have any retrospective effect.

The regulator recently increased the length of time brokers have to increase capital requirements.

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