The newly established independent Insurance Authority (IIA) held its first meeting last Friday, 29 January 2016. The meeting was attended by its Chairman, Dr Moses Cheng Mo-chi, and six out of the seven other non-executive directors appointed in late 20151.

According to the government press release issued on 29 January 2016, the matters discussed and actions taken at the meeting include the following, among others:

  1. Three committees were established:
  • Corporate Services Committee – to oversee and advise the IIA on staff recruitment, office accommodation and accounting issues.
  • External Relations Committee – to advise the IIA on matters relating to its publicity programme and stakeholder engagement strategies.
  • Audit Committee – to advise the IIA on matters relating to auditing.

An Investment Committee will be formed at a later stage to advise on the investment strategy relating to the IIA’s funds.

  1. The appointees to the proposed industry advisory committees (for long-term business and general business respectively) will comprise of practitioners from various lines of insurance business and experts from relevant fields such as consumer protection, compliance and accountancy.
  2. The IIA’s corporate plan for 2016-2017 was discussed (although no further details have been provided).
  3. The IIA will commence recruitment of staff for its executive arm. The organisation structure of the executive arm was discussed, and an earlier recommendation by a government-commissioned consultancy to recruit 299 staff was noted.

The IIA's priority is to ensure that there is a smooth transition from the current regulatory regime to the new regime. It has indicated that it will build on the work of the Working Group on Transition to the IIA (which was set up by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI)) and will continue to engage the insurance industry in the transitioning process.

The current target is for the IIA to assume the existing regulatory functions of the OCI by the end of 2016 and to take over the regulation of insurance intermediaries from the self-regulatory organisations within the next two to three years, under a new statutory licensing regime.