Over the last 30 years, the Isle of Man has developed a large and respected insurance centre. The Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (“the Authority”) is charged with the regulation of the insurance sector.
Companies carrying out insurance business in or from the Isle of Man are required to be authorised under the Insurance Act 2008. Regulations made under this Act provide for detailed supervisory reporting requirements. Copies of the Act and Regulations can be downloaded via the principal legislation page.
The Insurance Act 2008 consolidated most of the existing primary legislation in relation to insurance regulation, including the Insurance Act 1986, the Insurance (Amendment) Act 2004 and the Insurance Intermediaries (General Business) Act 1996. For more information on the implementation of the Act, see the Insurance Act 2008 page.
The Act seeks to ensure that senior management and controlling parties of insurance businesses are fit and proper, and that the companies are financially sound.
The Authority is committed to the continued development of an appropriate and up-to-date regulatory framework and is currently engaged on a major project to update this framework in line with recent developments in international supervisory standards (for more information on this project see here). In addition, it has legislation allowing captive insurance companies from other territories to re-domicile to the Island without being liquidated in the original territory. This has considerable savings for the company concerned both in time and cost. The Authority has also introduced legislation to allow the formation of protected cell companies (PCCs) and incorporated cell companies (ICCs). Such entities offer a means of alternative risk transfer to companies for which traditional insurance was previously the only commercially viable option.
The Authority issues, from time to time, consultation documents on proposed legislative changes. These can be found here. If you would like to receive notification of any future consultation documents and updates that may be published, please click here.
Applications for authorisation or registration under the Insurance Act 2008 are made in writing by the applicant to the Authority. As part of this authorisation process the Authority seeks to ensure that new entrants to the insurance sector meet the required minimum standards expected of an Isle of Man regulated entity, thereby protecting the reputation of the Island as a reputable and responsible financial centre.
In practice, any application that is received is considered by the supervisory team responsible for the prudential supervision of that sector, and where necessary, additional information is obtained and a recommendation is made to the Authority by the team. Authorisations and registrations may be made subject to conditions at any time as required.
The documentation required to be submitted as part of the application is defined in regulations and guidance and consists of sufficient information to enable the Authority to reach a view as to:
- the legal and beneficial ownership of the business;
- whether the key functionaries are fit and proper to undertake their respective roles. In this context key functionaries are those persons who are able to exert influence, control in the stewardship of the entity or who undertake key management and control functions and include controllers, including the ultimate beneficial owners, directors, appointed or scheme actuary, senior management, company secretary, managers, auditor and money laundering reporting officer;
- whether the applicant has adequate financial resources to support the business proposed;
- whether the business has an appropriate level of management on the Island, with adequate experience of the business carried out; and
- whether the business has in place an appropriate and effective system of governance that provides for its sound and prudent management.
Where the business, its controller, or the individual officers of the proposed business have undertaken regulated activities in the Island or elsewhere, the Authority will ordinarily undertake inter-regulatory communications to exchange information of common interest.
The status of an application may usually be expected to be determined within six weeks following receipt of all required information, unless particular matters arise which may require further investigation.
Where necessary to do so the Authority may refuse or approve the application subject to conditions. In any event, the Authority’s decision for approval, with or without conditions attaching, or for refusal is notified to the applicant in writing.
Appeal procedures exist whereby, should the applicant be aggrieved by the decision of the Authority, he may submit an appeal to the Insurance Tribunal.
On completion of the approval process, the Authority‘s knowledge and understanding of the regulated entity, its activities and the principal risks to which it is exposed are reassessed and appraised by the Authority on an ongoing basis through a combination of desk-based analysis and on-site inspection visits.
Regulatory reporting and other desk-based analysis tools
The Authority receives information about each regulated entity from a variety of sources, including annual, quarterly and ad hoc regulatory submissions. These contain detailed information in respect of the financial position and results of each regulated entity, the insurance programme and where applicable, information in respect of the actuarial valuation of liabilities. In addition, regulated insurance entities are required to report to the Authority on an annual basis, information in respect of the effectiveness of the governance, risk management and control arrangements in place.
Meetings are held with insurance entities or their managers as required to address specific issues arising. As many of the larger insurers in the Island are part of wider insurance or financial services groups, bilateral meetings with other regulators or participation within supervisory colleges form an important aspect of understanding how these entities fit within the wider group. These supervisory colleges also consider the intra-group risks and dependencies that may arise from these relationships.
The Authority‘s on-site inspection programme complements its desk-based analysis, and may take the format of a routine visit or may focus on a specific area of interest, policy or procedure, including that of compliance with applicable anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing and proliferation legislation.
Each on-site inspection is undertaken by the supervisory team with responsibility for the day-to-day supervision of the entity concerned, thereby ensuring continuity and consistency of approach in assessing the individual business, the corporate and management structure, and the activities and the risks to which the company is exposed.
An exception to this may be where a company has been required by the Authority to undertake remedial action and the Authority commissions third party professionals to undertake a review of the work undertaken. The cost of such work would ordinarily be met by the company concerned.
Under the Insurance Act 2008 the Authority has the power to enforce supervisory provisions in respect of a breach of the Act or any regulation or binding guidance made under it, including those in respect of AML/CFT.
There are various penalties available to the Authority to use for enforcement and sanctions, enabling the Supervisor to take appropriate and proportionate action as necessary.
The Authority assesses the compliance by individual regulated entities with their obligations through its programme of regular on-site inspections and information or intelligence received by it. These inspections may take the format of a routine visit, focus visit or desk based questionnaires enabling particular segments of the market to be simultaneously analysed with follow up inspections, meetings or remedial work being scheduled where required.