On November 14, 2008, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission of the PRC (CIRC) issued the Interpretations on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Measures for the Administration of Foreign Insurance Institutions’ Representative Offices in China which became effective on December 1, 2008.  

The Interpretations clarify the definition of “foreign insurance institutions” provided in the Measures for the Administration of Foreign Insurance Institutions’ Representative Offices in China. The Measures define “foreign insurance institutions” to mean “insurance companies, reinsurance companies, insurance agencies, insurance associations, and other insurance organizations registered outside Chinese territory.” The Interpretations specify that “other insurance organizations” are organizations registered in other countries or regions engaging in non-profit activities, such as academic studies, research, training and cooperation in the insurance industry.  

The Interpretations state that foreign insurance institutions that apply for the establishment of representative offices in China may include in their applications written opinions issued by government authorities overseeing insurance institutions in their countries or regions, or reference letters by their industrial associations, to support their applications. However, the Interpretations further stipulate that, if there indeed are competent government authorities overseeing insurance institutions in the applicants’ countries or regions, the applicants must provide written opinions from such authorities on the establishment of the proposed representative offices in China. Furthermore, these written opinions and reference letters must be notarized in the applicants’ countries or regions, or by the countries’ or regions’ consulates or embassies in China.  

In addition, the Interpretations require that the chief representatives of such representative offices report to the local offices of the CIRC in person at least once a year.