Imbert: New rules for foreign insurance companies in TT

Colm Imbert -
Colm Imbert -

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said when the Insurance (Amendment) Bill is proclaimed foreign insurance companies will no longer be allowed in this country.

He was piloting the bill in the Senate on Wednesday.

"We are doing away with foreign insurance companies. That will be a thing of the past."

He said that in order to carry on insurance business in TT after the act was proclaimed, which is expected in the next two months, people carrying on insurance business would need to incorporate themselves and register as a TT company.

Imbert said foreign companies would operate by having a branch in TT and would have to transition to a local company.

"So they will be forced to do so by law."

He added groups would be forced to restructure and would have to create a local company in one place, a financial holding company in another instance, and will have to transfer assets associated with that business to those new entities. He said the normal a stamp duty charges would be exempted in those circumstances.

Imbert reported that comments on the bill from the Association of TT Insurance Companies had been received and were forwarded to the Central Bank and a learned senior counsel.

"And at this time we don't see any need to make any further amendments...because we think all matters have been adequately addressed."

He stressed the bill was the product of a request from the regulator, the Central Bank, and not Government "invention."

"This is not some sinister plot on the part of the Government to amend the 2018 Insurance Act to benefit certain unknown persons as was falsely stated in the other place (the House). These amendments have all come from the Central Bank which is the entity that has to regulate the insurance industry."

He said a team from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came to TT at the request of the Central Bank and the joint team was asked to conduct a review of the local financial services sector of which the insurance industry is a significant part.

"So if anybody wants to know why the IMF is here, they are not here for an article for consultation."

He said in TT there were 12 life insurance companies, 19 general insurance companies and close to 3,000 brokers, adjusters, agents and salesmen. He reported as at September 2019 the assets of the insurance industry was $48 billion and 29 per cent of GDP, while assets for the pension sector totalled $51.1 billion and 31 per cent of GDP. He said the combined assets of insurance and pension industries was $99 billion and almost 50 per cent of GDP.

Imbert said implementation of the act was crucial for the resilience of the financial sector and that would be reflected by upcoming World Bank and IMF reports.


"Imbert: New rules for foreign insurance companies in TT"

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