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Gibraltar: Offshore Business Sectors

Insurance and Pensions

See Offshore Business Review – Insurance for a more general treatment of captive insurance companies.

Insurance companies in Gibraltar operate within the overall structure of the EU's Third Life and Non-Life Directives. The Commissioner of Insurance regulates and licences insurance companies in Gibraltar under the Insurance Companies Ordinance 1987. The issue of a licence depends on the expertise, business integrity and funding of the applicant. An insurer must maintain a guarantee fund related to its level of business; minimum guidelines (as in EU legislation) currently vary from EUR200,000 to EUR400,000.

Insurance companies licensed in Gibraltar must maintain a place of business in Gibraltar. Annual financial statements must be submitted to the Financial Services Commission within six months of the expiration of each fiscal year. Any intended change in company control must first be approved by the Commission.

See Offshore Tax Regimes and Law of Offshore for further details of the regulatory regime, the licensing process and the offshore tax possibilities for insurance companies in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar has fully implemented EU insurance directives, and under the 'common passport' rules Gibraltar insurance companies can therefore write business into the EU without needing to establish a presence in the jurisdiction concerned (see below for more detail). Taken together with Gibraltar's other advantages (well-educated, English-speaking, low-cost, available labour force; comparatively cheap fee structure; good telecommunications; very competitive tax structure) it would seem that this should encourage the development of a European insurance marketing sector in Gibraltar, although this has yet to happen on a significant scale.

Gibraltar captives can write business anywhere within the EU, and there is provision for both protected cell companies and rent-a-captives. Comprehensive legislation for protected cell companies was passed in the House of Assembly in July 2001 as the Protected Cell Companies Ordinance. See a detailed description of the new law in Law of Offshore.

An initial fee is payable with the licence application to the Financial Services Commission and an annual fee is payable thereafter, at rates set by the Insurance Companies (Licence Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 and the Insurance Companies (Prescribed Particulars) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2010 (at the time of writing).

The passporting of insurance and reinsurance mediation from Gibraltar throughout the EEA came into effect on January 15, 2005.

Passporting rights arise under the single market directives, and grant a person in the designated jurisdiction the right to establish a branch in another EEA state or to do business there on a cross-border basis, subject to the fulfillment of the conditions in the directive in question.

This was the fourth passporting badge awarded to Gibraltar, following insurance in 1997, banking in 1999, and investment services in 2003.

According to the Rock's financial services authorities, the passporting of insurance and reinsurance mediation was enabled by the passing of an amending ordinance, the Financial Services (Insurance Mediation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2004 in the House of Assembly on December 22, 2004. The Ordinance amended the Financial Services Ordinance 1989 in order to transpose into the law of Gibraltar Directive 2002/92/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 9, 2002 on insurance mediation.

The Ordinance provided for the regulation of insurance and reinsurance mediation, including such activities as:

  • Introducing, proposing or carrying out other work preparatory to the conclusion of contracts of insurance or reinsurance;
  • Concluding contracts of insurance or reinsurance; and
  • Assisting in the administration and performance of such contracts, in particular in the event of a claim.



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