Mauritius: Offshore Business Sectors
Captive Insurers in Mauritius used to be governed by the Offshore Insurance Regulations 1992, issued under the MOBA Act 1992. MOBAA also issued a set of 'Guidelines on the Regulation and Supervision of Captive Insurance Business in Mauritius'.
The Financial Services Development Act 2001 brought the insurance sector under the new Financial Services Commission.
The Mauritius Financial Services Commission announced in April, 2005, that a new Insurance Bill had been passed by the National Assembly. The Insurance Act 2005 provides for the implementation of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ (IAIS) Standards and Core Principles and focuses on specific regulatory issues relating to capital adequacy, solvency, corporate governance, early warning systems and the protection of policyholders and the financial system at large.
Applications for captive status in Mauritius are normally made through a local Captive Management company, which effectively has delegated powers from the Financial Services Commission. Applications will include notarised company documents, a certificate of compliance with local laws from a Mauritius lawyer, actuarial information, a business plan, and the name of a Principal Representative who is accountable to the FSC. A licensed captive may need to retain the services of a Captive Management company on an ongoing basis.
Captive Insurers, like Offshore Companies in general, can be formed as companies under the Companies Act 1984 (now the Companies Act 2001), or as branches. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for details of their tax treatment.
Both private (single-company) and public (3rd party) captives are allowed; there is provision for both rent-a-captives and for protected cell companies (see below).
The license fee for formation of a captive at the time of writing is USD500, and the ongoing annual registration fee is USD1,750. Annual filing required by the FSC includes audited financial statements, solvency certificates and actuarial valuations.
The minimum paid-up capital required for a captive is USD100,000 for a general insurer, USD250,000 for a long-term insurer, and USD350,000 for a combined company. Long-term liabilities must not exceed the value of the fund; for general business admitted assets must amount to at least 75% of admitted liabilities; and assets must exceed liabilities by USD100,000 or 15% of net premium income, whichever is higher.
1,860 insurance entities were registered in Mauritius as of December, 2011, most of them being sales agents.
Protected Cell Companies (PCC)
The Protected Cell Company (PCC) Act 1999 provides for a company incorporated for the purposes of carrying out a global business activity under the Financial Services Development Act 2001 (ie a GBC1) to create cells within its capital for the purposes of segregating the assets within that cell from claims related to the other assets. A PCC is governed by the PCC Act 1999 (as amended), and the Companies Act 2001.
A PCC may be directly incorporated under the Companies Act 2001 (see Forms of Company). A PCC may be registered as a foreign company by way of continuation as a PCC, provided that the incorporation and registration requirements prescribed in the Companies Act 2001 are satisfied. An existing company may be converted into a PCC.
The incorporation procedures for a PCC is similar to that of a GBC 1 and therefore the application is channeled through the Financial Services Commission.
In terms of the payment of dividends and, generally, taxation, each protected cell is treated independently.
The Protected Cell Companies (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations 2005, were enacted in July, 2005, following various representations made by the industry to extend the use of the PCC structure to other business activities besides CIS and insurance businesses. The new list of qualified global business activities for a PCC is as follows:
- Asset holding;
- Collective investment schemes;
- Insurance business;
- Specialised collective investment schemes; and
- Structured finance businesses.