Businesses seeking to sell insurance in The Bahamas must follow specific rules and regulations for applying to sell insurance and for maintaining an insurance business. This article describes the basics of what you need to get started.
The Insurance Commission of the Bahamas oversees and regulates insurance companies, including both local and foreign companies doing business here. Only businesses that register as insurers, in accordance with Bahamian law, may sell insurance in The Bahamas. The business name, which may not confuse or deceive potential insurance purchasers, must be approved by the Commission. The business formation documents must restrict business activities to selling insurance or other insurance-related business. If the company is foreign, it must have done insurance business for five years in its country of incorporation. The same insurance company is not permitted to conduct both long-term and general (shorter-term) insurance business with clients. See Insurance Act, Section 22 et seq.
For local companies, the application made to the Insurance Commission should include copies of all company organizational documents, details of company ownership structure, evidence showing compliance with specific capital requirements and agreements for reinsurance (if needed), and a detailed business plan that has been reviewed by an accountant and an actuary. See Insurance Act, Section 27. Foreign companies' applications must include similar information.
Applications must be accompanied by deposits consisting of cash and/or other assets made to the Commission. Companies carrying on life and/or health insurance business must deposit a minimum of $2 million in assets. Companies carrying on property and casualty insurance business must deposit a minimum of $1 million. Companies that do not plan to write any new business must deposit $500,000. These deposits are placed in trusts held at a licensed Bahamian bank. Insurance (General) Regulations 2010, Section 61 et seq.
If the company gives the Insurance Commission all needed information and the application is satisfactory, the Commission will register the company to sell insurance. If parts of the application are not satisfactory, the Commission may restrict the company to selling only certain classes of insurance or may request additional information from the company. The Commission may also restrict companies in the extent to which they reinsure themselves against risks. See Insurance Act, Section 27.
To find out more about insurance licenses, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.