No more foreign insurance companies in T&T after April—Imbert

Gov­ern­ment is do­ing away with for­eign in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and once the In­sur­ance bill act is pro­claimed in two months, such com­pa­nies will have to in­cor­po­rate them­selves and reg­is­ter a T&T com­pa­ny, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert said on Wednes­day.

Pi­lot­ing the In­sur­ance amend­ment bill in the Sen­ate, he said for­eign com­pa­nies will have to op­er­ate with T&T branch­es. He said they’d be forced by law to shift and Gov­ern­ment would force them to trans­fer as­sets here and have a new en­ti­ty.

Al­so un­der the bill, peo­ple who are not in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try won’t be al­lowed to rep­re­sent them­selves as such. He said the in­sur­ance in­dus­try’s as­sets of com­bined life and pen­sion val­ues rep­re­sent $99 bil­lion—50 per cent of T&T’s Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct.

Im­bert al­so said the In­ter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) was in T&T as part of a project re­quest­ed by his min­istry and the Cen­tral Bank to ex­am­ine the in­sur­ance sec­tor, banks, Unit Trust Cor­po­ra­tion and oth­er fi­nan­cial ser­vices to iden­ti­fy strengths and weak­ness­es so that Gov­ern­ment could take any nec­es­sary ac­tion on is­sues.

On an­oth­er is­sue, Im­bert said steps were be­ing tak­en by Gov­ern­ment to ad­dress the Eu­ro­pean Union’s place­ment of T&T on a list of high-risk coun­tries.

Im­bert said bar­ring un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, he was rea­son­ably con­fi­dent T&T would meet the EU’s re­quire­ments to ex­it the high-risk list. He said Gov­ern­ment had worked ex­pe­di­tious­ly to en­sure all de­fi­cien­cies were ad­dressed.

T&T al­so un­der­went ex­am­i­na­tion by the Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force last month and the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al will at­tend FATF next week to re­ceive the out­comes of this as­sess­ment.

Im­bert al­so said Tax Pack­age Bills would be im­mi­nent­ly de­bat­ed in the Par­lia­ment. The Gov­ern­ment has been en­gaged with the EU Am­bas­sador and EU rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Brus­sels con­cern­ing tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance on the mat­ter.


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