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Qatar Gives Boost To Captive Insurance

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Qatar Finance Centre Regulatory Authority (QFC) has released a Consultation Paper on a series of proposals designed to develop a base in Qatar for captives and includes related proposals for protected cell companies' and insurance intermediaries' regimes.

The proposals reflect the objectives of the QFC's development as a leading financial and business centre in the Middle East, while ensuring the QFC continues to implement and enforce high international regulatory standards.

What has come to be known as the 'self-insurance' industry - that includes 'captive' insurance vehicles - is projected to see strong growth in the region, driven by increased interest in alternative means of transferring risk and insuring high capital value ventures. The Regulatory Authority Chairman and CEO, Phillip Thorpe welcomed this latest Consultation Paper saying:

"Qatar's insurance markets are expected to see substantial growth over the coming years as the economy of Qatar and the region continues to expand. We want to support that growth by ensuring that we have the appropriate regulatory structures in place that will allow new business to establish, while ensuring that high standards, which are the hallmark of the QFC, are maintained."

The Regulatory Authority has identified the following as potential issues with regard to captive insurance:

  • The definitions used for captive classes may be too restrictive;
  • Appropriate levels of minimum capital requirements, especially the current risk-based capital requirement and whether more innovative instruments should be allowed;
  • Governance requirements for the board members of a captive;
  • The requirements relating to controlled functions and approved individuals where captives have appointed an insurance manager; and
  • The robustness of outsourcing requirements that would apply to captives.

The Regulatory Authority is proposing to review several areas specifically regarding Protected Cell Company (PCC) insurers to take account of developments in other jurisdictions, in particular:

  • The scope of captive insurance business for which PCC insurers can seek authorisation (i.e. currently the protected cell can only be established as a class I captive insurer);
  • The potential lack of clarity regarding corporate governance requirements that would apply to PCCs; and
  • Further refinement of the minimum capital requirement for PCCs.

The Regulatory Authority has identified the following as potential issues with regard to insurance intermediaries:

  • Identification of the risk profile of insurance intermediaries, and the differences in the risks posed by different categories of insurance mediation business;
  • The definition of insurance monies;

Feedback on these proposals will assist the Regulatory Authority in the further development of these regimes, its regulatory approach and the preparation of draft rules. The consultation period for responses is open until July 20, 2010.