Worldwide: International insurance regulation - Global Insurance Programmes

Last Updated: 24 May 2010
Article by Gerry Quirk

The rapid increase in globalisation in recent times has meant that multinationals now face a myriad of issues across an ever increasing number of jurisdictions as they pursue new business opportunities in both developed economies and emerging markets. Buyers of insurance are faced with the need to identify the different and sometimes unfamiliar property and liability risks faced by their businesses in different jurisdictions and to grapple with the regulatory complexities inherent in arranging a coherent and cost effective insurance programme providing the necessary coverage on acceptable terms. There is a tension between the desire to obtain cost savings by purchasing insurance centrally and the need to ensure compliance with local tax and regulatory regimes.

The regulatory and compliance risks associated with arranging global insurance programmes are becoming more acute as a result of the increased focus on effective corporate governance; the increasing sophistication and influence of emerging market economies; and the proliferation of cooperation arrangements between tax and regulatory authorities providing for the exchange of information. The difficulties are compounded by the contrasting approaches taken to regulation of insurance in different jurisdictions, and by the fact that the rules are often complex, unclear and open to different interpretations.

Breach of the regulatory regime can result in penalties for the insured, the broker and the insurer alike with potentially far reaching consequences both financially and in terms of reputation.

Our international regulatory practice

In order to negotiate these challenges, specialist knowledge of the legal and regulatory environment in the relevant jurisdictions is vital.

Clyde & Co is a world leader in the insurance sector advising on all aspects of insurance law including regulatory and compliance issues. Our international regulatory teams have the expertise to combine sound commercial advice with in-depth knowledge of the legal environment and regulatory constraints. We have offices in 23 countries including the key insurance markets in New York, London and the Middle East, enabling us to offer a 'joined up' regulatory view for clients operating across countries and continents. In jurisdictions where we do not have offices we are able to support clients through our relationships with tried and tested correspondent firms whom we regularly consult on regulatory issues. Our network of correspondents covers over 120 countries worldwide.

UK

In the UK we have one of the largest non-contentious insurance practices of any law firm and are able to offer advice on all aspects of insurance regulation. We have extensive experience of discussions and negotiations with insurance regulators, together with an in-depth knowledge of the European regulatory regime applying to insurance. Our experience includes advising on structuring insurance programmes to avoid compliance issues and on innovative product wordings designed to provide global cover without breaching local regulation.

USA

Our New York, New Jersey and San Francisco offices are able to directly support regulatory requirements in New York, New Jersey and California, as well as other jurisdictions. Depending on the issue, this support may be provided directly or via the strong relationships which our attorneys have with local counsel in most of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

A key focus of the team is to ensure that clients are informed and advised of the impact of new laws and regulatory actions affecting the insurance industry in the US, both at state and federal level.

Middle East

We are the largest international firm operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, where we have had a presence for over 20 years. Our four offices in the region have over 150 specialist lawyers and paralegals based in offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Doha in Qatar, and an associated office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Our Middle Eastern offices provide advice to corporate clients from all over the world, as well as to regional corporates and governments, on their operations throughout the Middle East.

Our Middle East practice includes a dedicated team of insurance specialists who provide a wide regional coverage and have in-depth knowledge of regional regulatory regimes and constraints, and are leaders in M&A and joint ventures in the region. Our team offer a full-service insurance practice, advising across the board on all aspects of insurance and risk management. We regularly assist international corporate clients with structuring their local insurance programmes to ensure compliance with domestic regulatory requirements, across all areas including medical, professional indemnity, construction, property, marine, credit, claims and general liability insurance. The team also advises on a wide range of compliance and regulatory issues in the UAE (and DIFC), Qatar (and QFC), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait and is able to give advice on takaful (Islamic insurance) issues.

Latin America

Our Latin American team comprises our offices in Brazil and Venezuela and a dedicated Latin American team in our London office. The team includes lawyers who are locally trained and qualified to practise in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, and fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English.

The team is well-known for its insurance expertise and able to advise on all aspects of insurance regulation across Latin America either through our own offices in the region or through our network of local correspondents. Experience includes advising multinational insureds with operations in Latin America on global policy issues.

Far East

We have significant presence in the Far East, with offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. Our offices work closely together, advising clients on a wide range of regulatory matters including Chinese law and regulation regarding non-admitted insurance and related products. Our lawyers in the region are qualified to practise in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, England and Wales and the US. Our experience extends to the following jurisdictions in the wider region: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan (ROC) and Thailand.

Russia

Our team advises Russian and international clients on a wide range of issues arising out of their operations in the region including corporate and commercial matters, finance, litigation and arbitration and matters involving international claims settlement, as well as insurance. We regularly advise on various aspects of insurance regulation in Russia and the operation of international insurance policies within the Russian regulatory framework.

India

Through our association with ALMT we have offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, staffed by Indian qualified lawyers with expert knowledge of local markets. Our associate offices specialise in insurance among other areas of law. The team advises local and international clients on all aspects of Indian law and regulation, including the regulatory rules applicable to insurance and insurance litigation. Experience includes advising on innovative methods of operating within the Indian regulatory environment, opining on enforceability of global insurance contracts, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and agency and asset management structures.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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