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New Insurance Law Now In Force In Mauritius

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

29 November 2007

After the new Mauritius Insurance Act, originally drafted in 2005, recently came into force, African insurance supervisors met in Mauritius this week to discuss licensing, corporate governance and risk-based supervision.

The Act provides for the implementation of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ (IAIS) Standards and Core Principles and focuses on specific regulatory issues relating to capital adequacy, solvency, corporate governance, early warning systems and the protection of policyholders and the financial system at large. The newly-added Insurance (Amendment) Act removes certain administrative obligations on branches of foreign insurers operating in Mauritius and provides for greater flexibility in exceptional circumstances.

Opening the seminar, the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Commission, Mr J.N. Meetarbhan said that the development of the insurance sector should be seen in the broader context of developments in the financial services sector, as part of a concerted regional strategy, especially as insurance needs for Africa are constantly changing. In particular, micro-insurance, health insurance and pensions need greater attention.

Mauritius is a member of regional groupings such as the Committee for Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA) and of international standard-setting bodies such as the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

“We make sure that we are fully compliant with international norms,” Mr Meetarbhan said, and expounded the main features of the Insurance Act, as well as the new Securities Act and Financial Services Act. “The new laws, rules and regulations are in line with the latest norms and thinking,” he said.

The Financial Services Commission, which is the regulator for financial services other than banking in Mauritius, is now moving towards a new risk-based approach to regulation. Challenges facing regulators in the region include that African countries devise a regional strategy for training, and that such areas as micro insurance, health insurance and pensions be given more focus. “The needs of some sections of the population cannot remain unmet because the laws or the regulator did not give necessary attention to these,” added the Chief Executive.

Mr Meetarbhan welcomed the close collaboration between the FSC, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the Financial Stability Institute (FSI) in organising the seminar in Mauritius.

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