New insurance and reinsurance legislation in Angola is providing new opportunities for the country. Corporate and insurance law expert Silvino Domingos spoke to Craig Sisterson about the impact of these new laws.
Opening the Angolan market for foreign insurance companies and the development of the micro insurance industry are among the great opportunities arising from new legislation passed this year, said Silvino Domingos, a partner at Luanda-based firm LBR Advogados.
“Angola is a young country with a population of around 35 million persons in 2015, and it’s possible that we will grow more to a population of around 60 million people,” Domingos said. “The promotion of micro insurance is very important for the financial stability of the family.”
The new Angolan law on insurance and reinsurance (Law 18/22 of July 7th) was based on recommendations of the International Association and Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Financial Authorities (CISNA), noted Domingos.
It is designed to ensure healthy competition, protect policy holders, promote the stability and regular operation of the insurance and reinsurance markets, and prevent systemic risk.
“According to this new insurance law, it’s possible for foreign insurance companies to come here to Angola and safely exercise their activity, establish a base and have the same rights as an Angolan insurance company,” explained Domingos. “Insurance companies based in Angola can also now go abroad and open there and help the country.”
With neighbouring nations like Namibia, Zambia, the DRC, Botswana and South Africa all part of CISNA, it means Angola’s insurance and reinsurance laws are not only strengthened, but also aligned across the region, said Domingos, whose firm is the exclusive Angolan partner of international giant CMS, a firm with 5000-plus lawyers operating in 45 countries.
“You must have reinsurance to support the insurance contract, and normally the companies that have the power to support insurance risk – the strength to assume the reinsurance contract – are foreign entities based in another country. It’s why the legislation must be aligned.”
Domingos says the market response to the new laws has been largely positive. He noted that the new laws promote a regulatory body that’s “more active and more autonomous in its decisions”, and push for there to be less bureaucracy in approval processes and greater obligations around key insurance functions.
“There was a need for legislation to monitor the financial growth of various social situations that need intervention by the insurance industry to be adjusted to national and international realities. It’s very important that our regulatory framework meets the CISNA recommendations.”
LBR Advogados has extensive experience in the financial sector, particularly the insurance sector, and is available to pass on that expertise to partners and clients. “Our experience in this complex matrix should support the process of facilitating understanding and implementation of the new requirements of the insurance and reinsurance sector,” noted Domingos.
He says the passing of the new laws signals Angola is open for business – not just to international insurers, but also more broadly. Foreign companies can go to Angola for great opportunities in various sectors, says Domingos, safe in the knowledge the new insurance law can help protect their business and investment. “We are in a good moment here in Angola. We can create good products and we are here to support all the companies that want to come invest here,” he concluded.
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