Welcome to the 18th edition of the quarterly Asia Pacific Insurance Newsletter.
This edition covers insights, pertinent insurance-specific legal issues and significant regulatory developments in Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Asia Pacific Guide for Investing in Insurtech Start-ups 2019 identifies deal-breakers in relation to investment criteria, corporate approvals, corporate governance, connected transactions and intellectual property.
- Insurance Regulatory Landscape and Key Considerations for M&A Transactions 2019 focuses on issues to consider when contemplating insurance M&A activities in Asia, such as regulatory approval, private equity participation and foreign ownership limitations.
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If you missed earlier editions of this newsletter, access our newsletter archive, insurance guides and other legal alerts at the Asia Pacific Insurance page.
In this issue:
- In Australia, the regulatory landscape is still in a state of reaction to the Royal Commission into the Financial Services Royal Commission.
- On the cyber front, Australia is a technology-neutral jurisdiction where all policies sold and claimed upon online must comply with regulation as if they were in hard copy.
- On 6 December 2019, the China Banking & Insurance Regulatory Commission ("CBIRC") published (i) Implementing Rule Regarding Regulations for Administration of Foreign-Invested Insurance Companies ("Implementing Rules"); and (ii) Notice Regarding Timing for the Explicit Cancellation of Foreign Equity Limit Applicable to Joint Venture Life Insurance Companies ("Notice").
- With effect from 23 September 2019, the Insurance Authority ("IA") took over the licensing, regulatory and supervisory functions of all insurance intermediaries in Hong Kong.
- In order to increase the competitiveness of the Hong Kong insurance industry, and to leverage on the "One Belt, One Road" opportunities, the Hong Kong Government proposed tax incentives to promote marine insurance and specialty insurance, with the aim of supporting the development of high-value marine businesses.
- By 17 October this year, each insurance company that operates as a sharia business must submit an action plan to the Indonesian Financial Services Authority ("OJK") on their plan to spin off their respective sharia business into separate entities ("Sharia Spin-Off Requirement").
- The OJK has issued a draft regulation that will amend a current regulation in order to provide clarity on foreign shareholdings in the insurance sector and the Sharia Spin-Off Requirement.
- In 2019, the OJK established a new unwritten policy that all directors and commissioners in insurance companies must have risk management certificates (mostly locally sourced) before they can pass their fit and proper test with the OJK.
- The Financial Services Agency ("FSA") finalized the amendments to the Comprehensive Guidelines on the Supervision of Insurance Companies, which were subjected to the public comment procedure between 7 August and 6 September 2019.
- On 6 November 2019, Bank Negara Malaysia ("BNM") issued a policy document on the fair treatment of financial consumers ("FTFC Guideline").
- As part of reforms promised by the Government of Myanmar ("Government"), the Ministry of Planning and Finance ("MOPF") had in 2013, granted insurance licenses to 11 local companies, and allowed foreign insurers to establish representative offices in Myanmar.
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the General Insurance Association of Singapore ("GIA"), the Life Insurance Association ("LIA"), and the Singapore Reinsurers' Association ("SRA") announced in December 2019 the establishment of the Insurance Culture and Conduct Steering Committee ("ICCSC") to foster a sound culture and strengthen standards of conduct among insurers in Singapore.
- Amendments were made in October 2019 to the Guidelines for the Handling of E-Commerce in the Insurance Enterprise Sector ("Guidelines") in Taiwan.
- In the last quarter of 2019, we saw a substantial number of changes to Thai insurance laws.
- Key provisions under the Data Privacy Act 2017 are coming into force next year, with a grace period of until 27 May 2020.
- The OIC recently conducted a public hearing on the regulatory sandbox scheme for digital insurers, and is considering the possibility of issuing digital insurance business licenses, but has not yet announced any specific dates.
- FWD Group acquired the insurance unit of Siam Commercial Bank - SCB Life Assurance Public Company Limited - and entered into a 15-year long-term bancassurance arrangement which sees SCB distributing FWD's life insurance products.
- To implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership ("CPTPP") in relation to insurance auxiliary services, the government of Vietnam recently issued a set of new regulations featuring amendments and implementation guidelines under the Insurance Business Law.