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BELIZE

 

INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE
LICENSES IN BELIZE

REGISTRATION OF INSURANCE COMPANY
IN BELIZE

 

INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE ACT OF 1999
According to Belize’s International Insurance Act of 1999, the categories of business included under the International Insurance Act are long-term insurance business, general insurance business, reinsurance business or captive insurance business.

The Act further classifies international insurance as “the business of a company whose risks and premiums originate outside Belize and whose liquidation monies payable to shareholders are payable to or for the benefit of persons resident outside of Belize.”

As the government of Belize continues to demonstrate its commitment to advancing the development of its offshore insurance industry, the passage of the International Insurance Act of 1999 has facilitated international investors who are seeking a reputable tax neutral jurisdiction to establish self insurance ventures that will provide insurance for risks which may not otherwise be normally insurable.

Furthermore, the International Insurance Act is there to facilitate those investors who are seeking to ultimately lower their insurance premium costs through self-insurance ventures that will allow them to establish a realistic spread between risks and control. This knowledge will assist investors to further leverage their company’s key risks against company performance and financial results.

Self insurance is the concept of insuring risks internally rather than through the commercial market. In making the decision for the viability of self-insurance, an analysis of the company’s insurable risks as between normal or expected losses and catastrophic losses must be made. The decision is often made to self insure the normal or expected losses and to cover the potential catastrophic losses in the commercial insurance market by means of reinsurance.

Self insurance can be carried out in several ways.

For example, funds can be appropriated from a company’s annual net profits to create capital reserve provisions against losses which are not covered by commercial insurance underwriters. The most common and perhaps the most effective method of self insurance, however, are through the establishment of a captive insurance company.

In commercial terms, a captive insurance company can be defined as a subsidiary company which is wholly owned by a non-insurance company and which carries on business exclusively to underwrite the insurable risks of its parent company or of its related or associated companies. Usually, a captive insurance company is located in an offshore jurisdiction for potential tax savings. The captive insurance company may take various forms:

The “pure” captive i.e. a company wholly owned by its parent and insuring the risks of that specific corporate group.

The “mutual” captive, i.e. a company set up to insure the collective risks of members of mutual organizations such as trade or industry associations.

The “reciprocal” captive, i.e. an association of separate entities who undertakes self insurance on a collective basis under a general management structure.

The “pure” captive turned commercial underwriter or reinsurer i.e. a pure captive which enters into the competitive commercial insurance market by seeking business from external sources in addition to the insurance risks underwritten from within the group.

The desire to reduce the costs of insurance is one of the principal reasons for considering the use of self insurance. Corporate groups with large insurable risks i.e. pharmaceuticals, power industry firms and even the financial services industry have been among the hardest hit in recent years by soaring insurance excess that is a significant proportion of the group’s overhead. This has been largely due to increased premium costs which have arisen from inflationary factors affecting the value of insurable risks, the administrative costs of insurers and the level of “real” investment income derived by the underwriters.

The increased costs to the insurer of administering and marketing insurance policies also lead to inflexibility in policy terms and conditions. Furthermore, most insurance policies are standardized products that are seldom drawn to suit the particular needs of the insured.

Similarly, the fundamental rating system used to assess premium levels is standardized on the record of losses experienced on an industry or group classification basis. Again the insured, who has a better than average claim record, is penalized through its contribution to industry wide losses. Further, a corporate group may find that with the growth of its operations, a large number of individual risks are being insured unnecessarily i.e. the possibility of a significant percentage of such risks materializing in any one year would be remote.

The rationalization of insurance cover to meet the specific requirements of a corporate group would therefore result in an immediate reduction of insurance costs. At present, the commercial underwriters are only able to offer these reductions to the insured through the medium of deductibles. The alternative of a captive insurance company coupled with a reinsurance program will provide greater cost reductions than the adequate premium credits attaching to deductibles under conventional insurance.

The more specific cost advantages provided by reinsurance take the form of premium credits and commissions. These credits and commissions are of course immediate reductions in premium cost to the corporate group but are retained in the captive insurance company.

The use of reinsurance in conjunction with a captive can also provide cash flow benefits to the corporate group. The corporate group, through its captive insurance company, retains the gross premium until the reinsurance premium falls due and is able to generate investment income during the retention period. The ability of the captive insurance company to determine when the annual premiums should be paid by group members can also assist the group cash flow program, provided such payments meet the reinsurance premium requirements.

Cash flow benefits can also be derived from the taxation advantages which accrue from using a captive insurance company. The funds accumulated in the captive insurance company are retained under the control of the corporate group. A flexible policy of investment is therefore possible and prudent investment of such funds should further enhance group profitability. The offshore-based captive provides greater benefits and flexibility for investment of accumulated funds.
The use of a captive insurance company also expedites the settlement of insurance claims. However, the settlement of a loss claim between the captive and the group member must be affected in the proper commercial manner.

The captive insurance company therefore offers the most expedient and beneficial means of obtaining self insurance backed by reinsurance coverage. It follows that a captive insurance company should be used to complement the activities of the commercial insurance underwriters and not as an alternative to them. The self insurance of risks which are outside the scope of commercial insurers must also be considered in conjunction with an assessment of your group’s overall risk position.

The coverage for this form of self insurance will be funded entirely from within your group. Consequently, structural and taxation problems are factors of prime importance and inevitably result in the utilization of a captive insurance company to insure the designated risk. The payment of premiums for insurance coverage is, in most countries, tax deductible irrespective of the nature of the recipient entity.

However, self-insurance effected through the creation of internally funded provisions of reserves does not normally generate tax deductions until losses are substantiated. The use of a captive insurance company is therefore a means of crystallizing self insurance into a distinct corporate entity.

Our Firm has extensive experience in the establishment of all types of offshore insurance arrangements and can provide you with consultation on the formation and management of insurance companies as well as arrange for access to professional risk managers and consultants to handle the day-to-day administration.

ESTABLISHMENT OF INSURANCE COMPANY IN BELIZE
INCORPORATION AND REGISTRATION FEES

Processing of any insurance application

Euros 17,500.00

Act as Principal Insurance Representative

Variable
0.15% of all insurance amounts underwritten

Minimum fee amount is Euros 15,000.00/annual

Registered Office

Euros 2.500.00/annual

Opening of Belize and other Corporate Bank Account

Euros 1,200.00

Nominee Director

Euros 1,750.00/annual

Annual Services of resident attorney-at-law

Euros 950.00/annual

Keeping of business records and accounts

Euros 750.00/annual

Actuary or Auditor

Independent Agent

Transfer of Insurance Business

Euros 450.00

Compliance with regulations

Euros 800.00

Annual Maintenance Fees

Euros 1,250.00/annual

General Disbursements

Euros 400.00

Provision for Mail Forwarding

Euros 300.00

Courier Fees

Euros 75.00

Government/Registration Fees:

Application for long-term Insurer

Euros 750.00

License for long-term Insurer

Euros 3,000.00

Application for general Insurer

Euros 750.00

License for general Insurer

Euros 3,000.00

Application for exempt Reinsurer or captive Insurer

Euros 500.00

License exempt Reinsurer or Captive Insurer

Euros 450.00

Application for other Reinsurers

Euros 750.00

License for other Reinsurers

Euros 2,000.00

Application for captive Insurers

Euros 1,050.00

License for captive Insurers

Euros 2,500.00

For any further questions or matter you may discuss with us, please do not hesitate to contact us with your relevant questions.

 


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