The Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) is seeking public comments on their recently released draft guidelines on Thailand’s insurance regulatory sandbox. Once enacted, the draft notification will replace the existing OIC insurance regulatory sandbox notification, aiming to broaden the OIC’s authority in order to erase difficulties in the project approval process that have arisen under the current notification.
One major change included in this draft notification is that business operators are no longer allowed to conduct “own sandbox” testing. Unlike the notification currently in effect, the new draft notification also does not specify the criteria and procedures for a business operator to apply for a temporary allowance of non-compliance with non-material, test-obstructing requirements in a notification or order from the OIC or the registrar.
Eligible participants in the insurance regulatory sandbox—which include life and non-life insurance companies, life and non-life brokers, and other types of business operators with expertise in technology—must have appropriate capital, systems, personnel, and experience for the planned provision of service.
Participants in the sandbox must establish measures to ensure that insured parties will receive sufficient information in relation to the project, and a remedial plan must be in place in case of damage arising from errors connected to the project. These measures are similar to those in the existing OIC notification, which requires that such measures must at least cover consumer protection, risk management, reporting obligations, and compliance with applicable laws.
The draft notification reduces the number of eligible sandbox project types allowed under the existing OIC notification. When the draft notification is enacted, projects that risk regulatory incompliance, and projects that may adversely affect consumers, financial stability, or trust in an insurance company or the industry as a whole, will no longer be allowed to participate in the insurance regulatory sandbox.
In addition, applicants to participate in the insurance regulatory sandbox must provide the following project details:
- A clear framework, scope, and expected results for the project, with the objective of offering new innovations to consumers in Thailand;
- A report showing the potential outlook of the innovation that will be tested in the sandbox, including the relevant risks and risk management measures; and
- A project plan for the process after the end of the sandbox testing (both for a successful test and for an unsuccessful one).
According to the draft notification, the project must comply with other applicable regulations prescribed by the OIC and must not be contrary to public order and good morals. The innovation and technology to be used in the sandbox must be either:
- beneficial to the entire insurance industry, the development of the insurance industry, or consumers; or,
- in response to a regulation that requires a business operator to have the relevant innovation or technology tested in the sandbox. If the innovation or technology to be tested involves a premium rate, the rate must be approved by the registrar and must be consistent with the expenses, expected damages, and principles of actuarial science.
The maximum allowable duration for each project is one year. An additional one-year extension can be sought from the OIC by submitting a request at least 30 days prior to the scheduled end of the project.
We will continue to monitor the development of this draft notification and note any significant developments.