As previously discussed here, the government monopoly over the Costa Rican insurance industry ended in the Fall of 2008. Seguros del Magisterio, S.A. has now become the first company authorized to compete with the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS).

Costa Rica’s pension fund supervisory authority (SUPEN), also temporarily charged with supervising the insurance industry until a separate superintendency can be fully developed, recently authorized Seguros del Magisterio to sell insurance products to all sectors of Costa Rican population (the company was previously authorized to sell only life insurance and only to teachers and their relatives under an exception to the government monopoly). Before it may begin selling insurance to the broader population, the company must deposit an additional $3.4 million into an account in the central bank.

Seguros del Magisterio may eventually sell a variety of insurance products, but is expected to initially offer only medical and life insurance policies. Seguros del Magisterio officials interviewed in La Nacion predict that the introduction of competition will make insurance accessible to people who have until now remained uninsured.

Reports indicate that at least two foreign insurers have expressed interest in entering the Costa Rican market and that others also are likely to establish a presence there in the near future.