Bermuda: Insurance Regulation In Africa - Ten Things To Know About Mauritius

Last Updated: 31 August 2018
Article by Malcolm Moller and Anjana Ramburuth
Most Read Contributor in Bermuda, September 2018

Norton Rose Fulbright have created a guide to provide an overview and practical checklist of ten common regulatory issues for insurance companies on which they are frequently asked to advise upon for key African jurisdictions where most of their clients operate or in which they are interested in expanding. Our Mauritius team contributed to this guide, providing their thoughts on insurance regulation from a Mauritius perspective.

The regulator

Insurance business is regulated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in Mauritius, through the Enforcement Committee, which is empowered to exercise the disciplinary authority of the FSC to impose administrative sanctions on regulated insurance businesses as it deems fit. The FSC licenses insurance/reinsurance companies as well as insurance service providers (insurance brokers, insurance agents (company/individual), insurance managers, and insurance salespersons and claims professionals). No person or corporation can carry on, or hold itself out as carrying on, insurance business of any category or class, in or from within Mauritius except under the authority of a licence issued by or with the relevant approval of the FSC.

The Act concentrates on regulatory issues in respect of capital adequacy, solvency, corporate governance, early warning systems and the protection of policyholders, in line with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) standards and principles.

The FSC is mainly responsible for the proper and adequate maintenance of the insurance market to the benefit and protection of consumers, safeguarding the fair treatment of policyholders, deterrence of financial crime and systematic progress in the industry inter alia.

Subsidiary/branch

The FSC needs to be notified of the opening of any branch in or outside Mauritius and/or the setup of or the acquisition of a subsidiary by an insurer outside Mauritius.

There are no requirements for a reinsurer, organised under the laws of any country outside Mauritius, to be licensed in Mauritius in order to underwrite risks from insurers in Mauritius.

A foreign company is authorised to carry on insurance business in or from within Mauritius, if it is registered under the Companies Act in Mauritius and has a satisfactory record of at least three years' experience in handling the category and class of insurance business in respect of which the application is made, in the country under whose laws it is organised.

FDI restrictions

Where an insurer holds a category one or two Global Business Licence (GBL) issued by the FSC, its shareholders must be foreigners. However, where an insurer is a domestic company, that doesn't hold a GBL, any foreigner who intends to hold shares in the company must be duly authorised by the relevant minister under the Non-Citizen's (Property Restrictions) Act 1975.

Change of control approvals

In general, no shares, or any legal or beneficial interest in a licensee of an insurer can be issued or transferred without the approval of the FSC. Subject to the Financial Services Act (FSA), the approval of the FSC is required for the transfer of shares save for the transfer of shares or legal or beneficial interests in a licensee being less than 5 per cent, provided that this does not result in a change of control.

No acquisition or holding of shares of 20 per cent or more in an insurer may be done without the prior approval of the FSC. The FSC reserves the right to deny such approval if the applicant is not contrary fit and proper; the acquisition is contrary to the interests of the policyholders or of the insurer, or to the public interest.

Minimum capital

General Insurance (GI)

The minimum capital requirement (MCR) for a General Insurance business is calculated in accordance with the Insurance (General Insurance Business Solvency) Rules 2007 (Rules). It is the sum of capital required for balance sheet assets, for investment above concentration limit, policy liabilities, catastrophes, and capital required for reinsurance, calculated as per the Rules.

Long Term Insurance (LTI)

According to the Insurance (Long-Term Insurance Business Solvency) Rules 2007, a Long Term Insurance business must maintain a solvency margin at least equal to the minimum capital requirement.

Risk based capital insurers

General insurance

A General Insurance must keep a solvency margin of at least 100 per cent of the minimum capital requirement and the capital requirement ratio must at all times be at the target level of at least 150 per cent. It must notify the FSC if it suspects its capital requirement ratio to fall below the above targeted level and submit a contingency plan to meet the targeted level for approval by the FSC.

Long Term Insurance

The minimum capital requirements for a Long Term Insurance is determined by its actuary, as the higher of

  1. A stress test requirement as issued by the FSC to ensure that the insurer remains solvent.

  2. The higher of 
  • An amount of RS25 million
  • An amount representing 13 weeks operating expenses, with operating expenses as defined and reported in the annual statutory return submitted to the FSC.

The Minimum Capital Requirements of any overseas branch business must be added to the Insurer's above calculation.

Policyholder protection

This is established for the protection of policyholders the Insurance Industry Compensation Fund (Compensation fund) for the payment of

  1. Any claims in respect of risks situated in Mauritius as may be prescribed, against an insurer, which remains unpaid due to insolvency of that insurer and

  2. Compensation to persons suffering personal injury in traffic accidents. The Compensation Fund may be structured into different sub funds to cater for different classes of policies.

Outsourcing of underwriting and other material functions

The Insurance (Risk management) Rules 2016 provide that when delegating or outsourcing any function, an insurer will need to ensure that the delegate is fit and proper and is able to meet the requirements of these rules. An insurer will not be discharged from its responsibilities upon any delegation or outsourcing arrangement and it has to ensure compliance with all requirements of the Act and any regulations made thereunder. The insurer has the duty to make available all books and records relating to any delegation/outsourcing to the FSC for inspection. An insurer is further required to identify, assess, manage, mitigate and report on risks associated with outsourcing to ensure that it can meet its financial and service obligations. An insurer is also required to reassess its risk profile and determine whether additional control, monitoring or reporting is required.

Regulation of the provision of intermediary services

Insurance managers, insurance agents and insurance brokers must be licensed by the FSC in order to provide their services in Mauritius.

Underwriting requirements

An insurer is required to make adequate technical provisions in its accounts for its underwriting liabilities in respect of its insurance policies, whether long term or general, as the case may be, including liabilities for unexpired risks, outstanding and incurred claims, provisions for claims incurred but not reported, and liabilities for policy benefits which have not become claimable, computed in accordance with a method specified in the solvency rules.

First published by Norton Rose Fulbright, July 2018

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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Authors
Malcolm Moller
Anjana Ramburuth
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