Monday, February 04, 2008

New Insurance Act 2008 passed by the First House of Assembly

The Insurance Act 2008, replacing the Insurance Act of 1994, was passed at the Sixth Sitting of the First House of Assembly. The new act will have the purpose of positioning the insurance industry in the BVI territory in order to meet international insurance standards.

Premier Ralph T. O'Neal pointed out that the bill has developed and enhanced the framework of the previous act, to achieve full compliance with the international association of insurance supervisors. Describing the bill, he said that it seeks to reform the legal and regulatory regime on the licensing, administration and supervision of insurance businesses in the British Virgin Islands, and reforms of the regime relating to insurance managers, intermediaries and loss adjustors.

By words of the Minister of Finance, the BVI territory is scrutinized both by the international community and investors. In connection to this, O'Neal said that the more successful one is in the insurance business, the more careful he has to be.

In terms of compliance with the new Act, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is to ensure that businesses are in compliance with the new Act.

Prior to being passed, the new Insurance Act was endorsed from both the Government's side and the Opposition during the debate. In the opinion of Deputy Speaker Keith Flax who also endorsed the bill the new Act has tightened a lot of loop holes that existed in the 1994 law. Elvis Harrigan, representing the Fifth District, noted that the insurance sector is a source of income that can strengthen the FSC and bring more funds into the BVI territory. The National Democratic Party traditionally does not have opposition when it comes to the financial services industry.

In his speech during the debating session prior to the passing of the Insurance Act 2008, Minister for Education and Culture Andrew Fahie noted he would like to see more local people who are interested to get managerial positions within the sector of insurance industry. Fahie said that even though the insurance sector is bringing in substantial revenue, the BVI territory needs to look at what benefits the industry brings to the people.

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