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Authored by: Scott Carnachan and Rebecca Yip
Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority (IA) became the regulator of all insurance intermediaries on 23 September 2019. All insurance agencies and insurance broker companies, their respective responsible officers (ROs) and technical representatives (TRs) who were registered with the self-regulatory organisations under the prior regulatory regime have been granted a deemed licence under the new regime for three years, running from 23 September 2019 to 22 September 2022 (Transitional Period). During this Transitional Period, every deemed licensee needs to apply for a new licence from the IA if they wish to continue to be licensed.
On 25 August 2020, the IA issued three circulars outlining the application process for turning “deemed” licensees into “new” licensees during the Transitional Period. The IA intends to coordinate the applications of individual insurance agents (i.e. ROs and TRs) who are deemed licensees through their appointing licensed insurance broker company or licensed insurance agent (collectively, Insurance Intermediaries).
What is the application process?
For Insurance Intermediaries:
|The IA will, by letter, invite the Insurance Intermediary to commence the application process for itself, its RO and TRs who are deemed licensees.
|The Insurance Intermediary should prepare and submit to the IA the paper-form application provided by the IA in the invitation letter for itself and its RO.
|The IA will guide the Insurance Intermediary to open a supervisor account in the IA’s e-portal called Insurance Intermediaries Connect.
|The Insurance Intermediary’s RO (or its authorised personnel) should download the current licensing information and contact details of its TRs from the e-portal, verify the information, update it as necessary, and then upload the updated information to the e-portal.
|Each TR’s application will need to be submitted through the e-portal.
|The IA will send e-mails to each of the TRs, inviting them to activate their individual accounts in the e-portal in order to submit their licence applications.
|Once activated, the TR can access his/her e-portal account and will find his/her application pre-populated with information verified by the Insurance Intermediary.
|The TR should complete the application by answering the “fit and proper” questions and uploading the requested information (e.g. a copy of Hong Kong Identity Card).
|The TR will send his/her application through the e-portal to the Insurance Intermediary for final verification and confirmation of appointment. The Insurance Intermediary will then submit the TR’s application to the IA.
|The TR and the Insurance Intermediary will be notified by the IA of the approval by e-mail.
What is the timing?
The IA aims to start the application process in the 3rd and 4th quarter of 2020 with selected pilot schemes, with the aim to roll it out more broadly in 2021.
What about an individual licensee who is appointed by more than one Insurance Intermediary?
The IA will work with the Insurance Intermediaries to identify which one should be treated as the main Insurance Intermediary of the individual licensee for the purposes of this exercise.
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