Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority (IA) has launched a two-month public consultation on ‘fit and proper’ and continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for insurance intermediaries.
Fit and proper
The draft guidelines outline key criteria that the IA will normally consider in determining whether a person is fit and proper.
Broadly grouped into three categories, they focus on the individual’s:
- Education, qualification or experience;
- Reputation, character, reliability and integrity; and,
- Financial status or solvency.
Through the CPD shakeup, the IA said it is trying to “standardise, modernise and update” existing requirements.
It is proposing to raise the minimum CPD requirement to 15 hours from 10. Additionally, at least three hours must relate to ethics or regulations.
Online or e-learning courses will be recognised for up to five hours of CPD.
Training courses offered by organisations, such as regulatory and enforcement bodies, will be recognised subject to review by the IA.
Language and maths proficiency
The proposals also including setting minimum education requirements for individuals licensed under the new regime to “ensure that they have the necessary language proficiency and numerical skills”.
Local intermediaries must attain Level 2 or above in five subjects in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination. Mandatory subjects include Chinese or English language and mathematics.
The IA added that it will also accept a range of professional and other education qualifications as alternatives.
In addition, responsible officers of insurance agencies and broker companies should hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or tertiary education institution, as they are subject to higher levels of responsibility under the IA.
Older advisers operating in the market, however, will be exempt from the proposed minimum education requirements.
Clement Cheung, chief executive of the IA, said: “Insurance products and distribution channels are becoming increasingly sophisticated and diversified. Naturally, customers will expect corresponding professional advice and quality services from insurance intermediaries to help them to purchase suitable insurance products.”
The IA is due to take over the regulation of insurance intermediaries from three self-regulatory organisations in mid-2019: the Federation of Insurers, the Confederation of Insurance Brokers and the Professional Insurance Brokers Association.