Licences are issued under The Insurance Business (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2002, as amended ("the Law").
Applicants for a licence to write insurance business must read and understand the minimum criteria for licensing, set out in Schedule 7 of the Law.
Specific criteria and principles
The following information is in addition to the guidance found at 'New Applicants'.
The requirement must be met as scheduled in the solvency rules noted above.
All insurers irrespective of the business undertaken must appoint such a representative.
Licensees may write:
General business: Non-life.
Long term business: Life. Licensees are required to establish a policyholder protection regime that includes the appointment of an independent, Guernsey-based trustee with a duty to report directly to the Commission. The trustee must hold assets representing at least 90% of policyholder liabilities. The requirement is imposed by a standard condition on the insurer's licence.
Composite insurers: are not generally permitted except where the life/non-life insurance business is incidental in terms of premium income to the principal life/non-life insurance business being written by the licensed insurer, or where the licensed insurer is a protected cell or incorporated cell company, see below for further details.
There are two categories of insurers:
International Insurers primarily underwrite non-local insurance risks (i.e. risks outside the Bailiwick of Guernsey) and may be classified as follows:
Commercial life insurer: A long-term insurer with any element of unrelated party business.
Commercial life reinsurer: A long term reinsurer with any element of unrelated party business.
Commercial general insurer: A general insurer with an element of unrelated party business.
Commercial general reinsurer: A general insurer providing reinsurance to a commercial insurer, whether or not part of the same group, and with no direct buiness.
Captive life/ general reinsurer: An insurance or reinsurance entity created and owned, directly or indirectly, by one or more industrial, commercial or finance entities or associations, the purpose of which is to provide insurance or reinsurance cover for risks (other than commercial insurance risks) of the entity or entities to which it belongs, or for entities connected to those entities.
Administration: The majority of the International Insurers licenced in Guernsey are administered by licenced Insurance Managers who act as general representatives to, and manage the day-to-day operations of, these licenced insurers.
Domestic Insurers underwrite wholly, or primarily, Bailiwick of Guernsey insurance risks and may be classified as follows:
Locally incorporated: Entities incorporated in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Non-locally incorporated: Entities incorporated overseas but licensed to carry on business in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Applicable insurance company structures
We are not prescriptive as to the type of structure that may be used for insurance companies, such is a business decision for the applicant to determine. There are three principle types of insurance structure:
- Standard incorporated entity;
- Protected Cell Companies;
- Incorporated Cell Companies.
See below for further details.
Sole traders: These are not permitted.
Protected Cell Companies (PCCs)
PCCs facilitate insurers to utilise the captive approach to risk management without needing to establish a captive of their own. A PCC is a single legal entity that is subdivided into:
May contain the capital of the company in a consolidated whole or it can be held at cell level.
Which can either be capitalised at cellular level or rely on the core for support.
Benefits of PCCs
- Segregation: The assets and liabilities of each cell are segregated to prevent contagion risk so that no claim against one cell will be covered by the funds of another cell.
- Access to insurance and reinsurance markets: Whilst avaliable to all sizes of insurance structures, PCCs enable small to medium entities to establish a business platform from which they can develop their business.
- Risk Management: Greater control of risks enabling clients to benefit from prudent risk management.
- Long term business: Funds relating to different policyholders can be segregated into separate cells within a PCC.
- General and long term business: can be written in different cells of the same PCC provided these cells are not both reliant upon the core assets for solvency purposes.
- Special Purpose Vehicles: These facilitate either the translation of capital market transactions into insurance transactions or risk transfer conduits to enable securitisation of future income streams. Applicants for Insurance Linked Securities may find the guidance issued by GIIA helpful: the Commission takes no responsibility for its accuracy or the views expressed therein and will exercise its discretion in accordance with legislation.
- Pre-authorisation for PCC Cells: There are provisions for approval of PCC cells on a product or class basis. Application details can be found after the full licence application process below.
Incorporated Cell Companies (ICCs)
Similar to a PCC, an ICC has individual cells but unlike a PCC, each cell is separately incorporated providing enhanced protection for ring fencing liabilities particularly in jurisdictions where the concept of PCCs do not exist. Additionally, the legal structure of an ICC enables contracts, such as reinsurance, to be arranged between different cells within the same ICC.
The licence application pack must contain:
Application form and supporting documentation
One of the following application forms, as relevant to the proposed business, must be fully completed, signed and dated by two authorised signatories of the applicant and submitted together with all of the supporting documentation requested in that form:
- International Insurer Application Form;
- Domestic Insurer Application Form;
- PCC Cell Application Form;
- ICC Application Form.
The fee is non-refundable. Fees
Beneficial owner evidence
Copies of authorisation or incorporation certificates relating to the beneficial owner of the applicant may be requested.
Personal Questionnaire ("OPQ")
OPQs must be submitted through the Online PQ Portal for each natural person who is a beneficial owner, controller, partner, director, company secretary, Money Laundering Reporting Officer, Compliance Officer or manager of the applicant(s) including natural persons fulfilling the role of actuary or general representative.
Resources and delegation
The applicant is required to have adequate resources of personnel, policy, procedures, premises and systems to conduct operations including: record-keeping, compliance, anti-money laundering measures, internal control and other systems.
If the applicant proposes to delegate some responsibilities to other service providers, the arrangements must be acceptable to the Commission and demonstrate that the delegate, including the general representative, has the necessary capability.
Listing signing powers of the applicant.
Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association.
Documentary confirmation that share capital has been received and/or that letters of credit and subordinated loans have been put in place.
Where the applicant, controller or ultimate holding company is resident in a sensitive jurisdiction, as published by the Commission on its website, further details may be requested.
We will assess and review the application pack and inform the applicant, or its professional advisers, of any matters requiring expansion or clarification. Once all queries have been satisfied, the application will be referred to a decision-maker. A formal response will follow decision-making.
We will acknowledge the application within 3 business days from the date of receipt and aim to provide an in principle decision to applicants within 28 calendar days receipt of a fully completed application pack.
The response time may be advanced or substantially delayed depending on the quality of the submission of the application pack.
We will send a written response detailing any matters that require expansion or clarification to enable the application to be referred to a decision-maker.
Successful applicants will be issued with a licence certificate.
Any conditions which may be imposed on the licence will be scheduled in a covering letter. Conditions will have been discussed with applicants in advance.
Upon licensing, the annual licence fee becomes due, which is reduced pro rata in the first year: an invoice will be sent with the licence.
Pre-authorised PCC cells
Specific criteria and principles
The regulations provide for the approval of PCC cells on a product or class basis and removing the need to provide some of the standard information required with an application. The pre-approval process may only be used where:
- A PCC and its first cell have been subjected to the standard application process and approval issued;
- We have issued express written agreement that the pre-approval process may be used for subsequent cells;
- The terms of the written agreement must be fulfilled at each subsequent application stage: any deviation from the pre-approval agreement may result in that agreement being withdrawn.
Pre-authorised cells are most commonly used for Special Purpose Insurer cellshave the following general characteristics:
- The cell must be owned by an investor(s) already known to the Commission – this may include a fund;
- The cell can only participate in a layer of reinsurance;
- The exposure of each cell must be fully collateralised.
The Commission will consider requests for pre-authorisation of other types of cell on a case by case basis.
There is a two-phase application process:
A licensed Insurance Manager seeking to utilise the pre-approved process for a PCC must send Authorisations written details of the likely business to be conducted and the proposed owners. We will write to inform the Insurance Manager if pre-approval has been granted together with the terms on which it has been granted. Once approval has been granted to a particular class of business the Insurance Manager is permitted to set up new cells in the same class of business and finalise the reinsurance contract.
Within seven calendar days of the effective date of the reinsurance contract the following must be supplied to the Commission.
Cell application form
Which must be fully completed, signed and dated.
Narrative business plan
Which must include details of collateral arrangements.
Spreadsheet business plan
Fully completed, to support the details in the business plan.
The non-refundable fee.
Confirmation of the date that the cell's reinsurance takes effect.
Confirmation of the bank mandate details.
We aim to respond to applicants within 7 calendar days of receipt of an application but this timeframe is indicative only, we cannot be bound by it.
Applicants will receive written confirmation by way of letter.
A pro rata invoice from the effective date of the reinsurance contract will be issued with the letter of confirmation.