Argentina: According to the national regulator, total premiums in the Argentinean insurance market increased 7.4% when comparing the twelve months ended April 30, 2009 with the prior twelve month period. The fastest growing line of insurance for the period was workers compensation insurance, where total premiums increased 22.1%. Automobile insurance remains the largest sector in the Argentinean insurance market, accounting for nearly half of the market’s total premiums.

Chile: The Chilean insurance regulator, the Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros, has recently published a new draft regulation governing the authorization of insurers and reinsurers in the country, as well as the establishment of local offices by foreign companies. In particular, the draft regulation revises the existing requirements regarding controlling persons of such companies and establishes a number of requirements for companies’ risk management systems. For a copy of the new regulation, please click here.

Cuba: The Organization of American States (OAS) recently voted to readmit Cuba, which had been suspended from membership since 1962. The move may open the door for member countries to increase financing, foreign aid and cooperation with Cuba. Chilean and Uruguayan officials have reportedly already been in contact with Cuban officials to discuss potential infrastructure developments projects. The vote of the foreign ministers was unanimous, although United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already left the meeting to join President Obama in Egypt.

Mexico: The Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions recently announced that its proposed modifications to the nation’s insurance laws are nearly ready and will soon be submitted for legislative consideration. The primary goal of the modifications, according to the group, is consistency with the principles of Solvency II, including adjustment of minimum capital rules and strengthening of corporate governance and government regulation.

Nicaragua: Total activity in the Nicaraguan insurance market reportedly grew 16.01% in a month to month comparison of March 2009 to March 2008. Total activity reportedly rose to US $150.26 million in March 2009.

Venezuela: German Ferrer, spokesman for the Permanent Commission on Finance, recently stated that he expects the new Venezuelan insurance laws to be passed within the next few weeks. The comment period on the legislation, the stated goal of which is to eliminate past abuses in the market and mandate fair treatment of the general population, has now ended. As to foreign insurers and reinsurers, the law contains a prohibition against doing business with such entities as to Venezuelan risks in the absence of authorization of the foreign entities or approval by the Venezuelan authorities on a surplus lines basis.