The Luxembourg legal framework of the insurance sector is about to experience significant changes in the coming months. The implementation of Solvency II directive is still a legislative work in progress with two legs, consisting in a draft bill that will restate in full the existing law of 1991 on the insurance sector and a second draft bill that will amend both the law of 1997 on insurance contracts and the law of 1994 on annual accounts of insurance and reinsurance companies.
The Luxembourg legislator has however decided to move forward ahead of the forthcoming Solvency II legal instruments with the vote and publication of the law dated 12 July 2013 that amends the law of 1991 by creating a new category of Professionals of the Insurance Sector and restating provisions governing insurance and reinsurance intermediaries as well as authorized managers of companies active in the insurance sector.
Although the concept of Professional of the Insurance Sector, inspired from the longstanding and ever-evolving group of Professionals of the Financial Sector, is brand new to the world of Luxembourg insurance, its scope partly covers and supplements the provisions that previously applied to certain professionals such as the companies providing management services to reinsurance undertakings or to pension funds.
The new law however goes further by authorizing and regulating new professions such as management companies for insurance captives, actuarial service providers or governance service providers, which are notably expected to play a role in helping small and medium-size insurance and reinsurance companies to adapt to future Solvency II organizational requirements by widening their outsourcing possibilities.
Other specialised professionals like run-off management companies and claim handlers will usefully complete the Luxembourg offer of services to the insurance and reinsurance industry.
From an international perspective, foreign professionals intending to set-up a branch in Luxembourg in order to provide services that fall under the scope of the new category shall apply for a license in Luxembourg under the same conditions as Luxembourg professionals.
The complete list of Professionals of the Insurance Sector as set forth under the law of 12 July 2013 is the following:
- management companies for insurance captives
- management companies for insurance undertakings in run-off
- management companies for reinsurance undertakings
- management companies for pension funds
- authorized provider of actuarial services
- insurance portfolio management companies
- authorized provider of services relating to the governance of insurance and reinsurance undertakings
- claim handlers / loss adjusters
It has to be noted that insurance and reinsurance intermediaries (brokers and agents) are not caught under the category of Professionals of the Insurance Sector due to the existence of a specific set of European legal instruments applicable to them.
The law of 12 July 2013 nevertheless restates and supplements the rules previously applicable to brokers in a way that is quite similar to the provisions now governing the professionals of the insurance sector in terms of financial assets, professional liability insurance, audit reporting and supervision. By way of example the law provides for the application of the same requirements of minimum financial assets to individual brokers (net assets of EUR 25.000.- upon authorization to be brought to EUR 50.000.- within 5 years) and to brokerage firms (paid-in capital of EUR 50.000.- upon authorization to be brought to EUR 125.000.- within 5 years) as those applicable to Professionals of the Insurance Sector.
With this new legislation Luxembourg has implemented the first piece of a process aiming at maintaining a harmonized level playing field for the Luxembourg insurance industry while preserving its specificities. Although (or because) they imply a higher level of regulation and an adaptation to new standards, it is expected that those legal instruments will have positive results on the market and be an asset to industry players in developing the new opportunities that may follow from them.