Al Busaidy Mansoor Jamal & Co.

Barristers and Legal Consultants

New rules for Oman’s insurance brokers

Filed under Capital Markets, Insurance

Oman insurance broker

In April, Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) issued a new regulation for insurance and reinsurance brokers. The new rules contain more stringent capital and guarantee requirements, major changes to the insurance brokerage licensing regime and restrictions designed to prevent conflicts of interest.

Under the new rules the current single brokerage licence which covered both insurance and reinsurance brokerage will be replaced by three separate licences for (i) re-insurance brokerage, (ii) insurance brokerage, and (iii) dual brokerage. Applications for the new licences are likely to entail brokerage firms amending their commercial activities as registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The most significant impact of the new rules for many brokerages will lie in the introduction of a minimum capital of OMR100,000. This represents a five-fold increase for many Omani brokerages currently registered with a capital of OMR20,000 under the Commercial Companies Law. Thresholds for the bank guarantees required to be deposited with the CMA as part of the licensing process have also been raised from OMR50,000 to OMR75,000 for insurance brokers, OMR150,000 for reinsurance brokers and OMR 200,000 for dual brokers.

The new rules also ban the ‘founders’ of brokerage companies from concurrently working for insurance companies, other brokers or agents in Oman. The percentage of shares a broker may hold in an insurance company has also been reduced from 10% to 5%. The combined effect of these restrictions is to lessen the risk of conflicts of interest arising between the insurance and insurance/reinsurance brokerage markets and to curtail the scope for interference by brokers in the conduct of insurance business. Another restriction is the ban on brokers from receiving or claiming any interest generated by the sums deposited in brokerage bank accounts (i.e. the accounts in which brokers keep client monies), from using these funds to obtain credit facilities or as security for bank loans.

The regulation is likely to have a significant impact on the brokerage industry in Oman. The robust approach taken signals the regulator’s determination to raise standards and adopt best international practice across all segments of the financial services sector in Oman.

For more on Oman’s insurance law, contact Mansoor Malik or Hussein Azmy