Insurance in Argentina is regulated by several acts and resolutions issued by the insurance regulator. Pursuant to Law 12,988, individuals and assets domiciled or located in Argentina must be insured by an Argentine insurance company through an insurance policy issued in Argentina. Consequently, insurance transactions in Argentina must be undertaken by locally registered insurance companies. Thus, only admitted insurers can write insurance contracts in Argentina.
If law and regulations are violated, the consequences, among others, are as follows:
- A fine of up to 25 times the value of the premium will be imposed on the insured and the intermediary (or broker)
- The insurance policy will be considered null and void and will not be enforceable under Argentine law
- The insurance company may face a fine of up to ARG $100,000 (€18,500)
- Directors, officers and other employees with similar positions may be jointly liable for the fine. In addition, they may also be responsible for damages arising from the nullity of the insurance coverage.
These principles and penalties have recently been applied in the local market. In a recent case, an insured bought a life insurance policy from a US domiciled carrier who was not registered in Argentina. The Government imposed a fine of eight times the premium on the policyholder and 15 times the premium on the intermediaries. As this case indicates, it is important for foreign insurers wishing to write insurance contracts in Argentina to comply with local regulations in order to avoid fines and penalties.