New insurance watchdog to focus on cross-border regulation

Incoming regulator to work with its counterpart to improve oversight of insurance flow between the two markets

New insurance watchdog to focus on cross-border regulation

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Hong Kong Insurance Authority, the special administrative region’s new insurance regulator, has announced its intention to work with its mainland counterpart on improving cross-border regulation capabilities.

The Insurance Authority will commence its official duties on June 26 as it takes over from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, overseeing all insurance companies in the territory and around 90,000 sales staff.

“There are many mainlanders buying insurance products in Hong Kong which is positive for Hong Kong as an international insurance centre,” Moses Cheng Mo-chi, chairman of the Insurance Authority, told the South China Morning Post.

“However, these cross border transactions also mean there is a need for us to pay attention and to keep in close communication with the mainland insurance regulator to crackdown on any malpractices or misselling to protect the interest of all policyholders.”

Cheng added that the insurance authority will work closely with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission to increase the level of public education on insurance products in both Hong Kong and on the mainland.

“It is important for mainland policyholders to understand the currency risks and about their rights when they buy policies in Hong Kong,” Cheng said.

Buyers from mainland China accounted for US$6.28 billion, or almost 40%, of all life insurance policies sold in Hong Kong in the first three quarters of 2016.

Recognising the opportunities presented in the Hong Kong market, nine out of the 21 proposed takeovers of Hong Kong insurers in the past three years were initiated by mainland Chinese companies.

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