Minister means the Minister responsible for Finance and Economic Management.
miscellaneous policy means an insurance policy that covers a risk relating to an event that is not mentioned elsewhere in this section.
motor policy means an insurance policy that covers a risk relating to the possession, use or ownership of a motor vehicle.
personal lines business means general insurance business for which the policyholder is a natural person.
policy benefits means:
(a) a sum of money; and
(b) services or other benefits; and
(c) an annuity.
(a) the person entitled to a benefit under an insurance policy; and
(b) another person, such as the purchaser, who can require the insurer to meet its
obligations under the policy.
premium means the money to be paid in return for an undertaking to provide policy benefits.
property policy means an insurance policy that covers a risk relating to the use, ownership, loss of or damage to property, other than a risk mentioned elsewhere in this section.
proportional reinsurance means the reinsurance of a part of a liability under a general policy, where premiums are shared in the same proportion as losses between the re- insurer and the general insurer.
protected cell company means a protected cell company within the meaning of the Protected Cell Companies Act.
reinsurance means a contract by which an insurer insures any part of the risk insured by the insurer with another insurer.
reinsurance policy means a reinsurance policy for a life or general insurance policy.
significant owner means a person who, directly or indirectly, alone or with an associate, exercises rights over shares that:
(a) in total represent at least 10% of the share capital of the company; or
(b) give the person at least 10% of the total voting rights in the company or the power
to appoint or remove directors of the board.
sinking fund policy means a policy under which a person is entitled to a sum or sums of money on a fixed or determinable future date as policy benefits.
survival benefit means a policy benefit to be provided if the life of a person continues for a period.
(2) Any books, records or documents required to be kept under this Act may be kept in electronic form.
2 Meaning of insurance policy (1) An insurance policy is a contract under which a person, in return for a premium, agrees to
give policy benefits if an event contemplated in the contract as a risk occurs.
(2) For subsection (1):
(a) an event contemplated in a policy is described as being covered by the policy; and
(b) a policy benefit includes a benefit other than money.
(3) A reference to an insurance policy includes a reference to a re-insurance policy.
3 Marine Insurance Act This Act does not affect the operation of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 of the United Kingdom in its application in Vanuatu.
PART 2 – THE COMMISSION’S ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACT
4 The objectives of insurance supervision (1) The object of this Act is to promote the maintenance of efficient, fair, safe and stable
insurance markets for the benefit and protection of policyholders.
(2) In administering this Act and the Regulations, the Commission must take into
consideration the object of this Act.
5 Applications to the Commission (1) An application to the Commission must:
(a) be made in writing, using the form approved by the Commission; and
(b) be accompanied by:
(i) the prescribed fee; and
(ii) the information and documents that the Commission requires.
(2) An approval, determination or decision by, or a notice given by, the Commission, must
be made in writing and signed by the Commissioner.
6 Powers of the Commission to obtain information and documents (1) The Commission may by notice direct a licensed insurer, insurance intermediary,
insurance manager or compliance officer to provide to the Commission information or documents required by the Commission for the purposes of this Act.
(2) If the Commission has power to require a licensee or compliance officer to give the
Commission a document, the Commission may direct any person who appears to possess the document to give the document to the Commission.
(3) This section applies to a former licensee for a period of 6 years from the date on which
the former licensee ceased to be a licensee.
(4) The Commission may, by notice given to a person who is or is to be a director, partner,
manager, employee or compliance officer of a licensee, require the person to give the Commission the information or documents that the Commission may reasonably require to decide whether the person is a fit and proper person to occupy the particular position that he or she occupies or is to occupy.
(5) A notice under this section must state:
(a) the information or documents the Commission requires; and
(b) the date by which the information or documents must be given to the
(6) The Commission may require the information or documents from a shareholder of a
licensee that is a company if the Commission considers that it is desirable to do so to protect the interests of the public or the policyholders, potential policyholders or customers of the licensee or the reputation of Vanuatu as a finance centre.
7 On site inspections (1) The Commission may conduct on-site inspections at the premises occupied by a licensed
insurer, insurance intermediary, insurance manager or compliance officer at any time during normal business hours.
(2) The Commission must give the licensed insurer, insurance intermediary, insurance
manager or compliance officer, reasonable notice of the inspection.
(3) The entity that is being inspected must cooperate with the Commission by:
(a) giving the Commission all the information and documents it requires; and
(b) giving the Commission, if possible, appropriate workspace and access to office
services, such as a telephone, fax machine and copy machine during the inspection.
(4) An on-site inspection may:
(a) occur for a period of one or several days; and
(b) occur at any or all of the premises where the entity conducts business or keeps
8 Variations to an advertisement, brochure or similar document (1) If an advertisement, brochure or similar document about the business of an insurer or an
insurance policy that is being, or is to be, published by a person is misleading or contrary to the public interest, or contains an incorrect statement of fact, the Commission may by notice direct that person:
(a) not to publish or cease to publish, the advertisement, brochure or similar document; or
(b) to vary the advertisement, brochure or similar document so that it is no longer
misleading, contrary to the public interest or incorrect.
(2) A person must not:
(a) publish an advertisement, brochure or similar document in contravention of
subsection (1); or
(b) publish a variation of an advertisement, document or brochure unless the variation
has been approved by the Commission.
(3) The Commission must, 14 days after receiving a copy of the advertisement, brochure or
similar document, make a decision on whether or not to approve a variation referred to in subsection (2).
9 Policy classification The Commission may determine that an insurance policy is a particular kind of policy as defined in section 1 if:
(a) the licensed insurer issuing the policy has not classified the policy correctly; or
(b) the insurer requests the Commissioner to classify the policy.
10 Appointment of Inspector (1) The Commission may appoint an inspector for the purposes of section 11 only if it considers it necessary in the interests of:
(a) the public or the licensee's clients, policyholders or potential policyholders; or
(b) the reputation of Vanuatu as a financial centre.
(2) The Commission must inform the licensee, in writing, that the inspector has been
(3) An inspector is bound by the same confidentiality and code of conduct requirements as
the staff of the Commission.
(4) An inspector must produce evidence of his or her appointment as inspector if requested to
do so during an investigation.
11 Investigation by Inspectors (1) An inspector has the power to investigate and report on:
(a) the nature, conduct or state of a licensee’s business or particular aspect of that business; and
(b) the ownership and control of the licensee, if the licensee is a company.
(2) An inspector may also investigate the business of a person who is, or has at any relevant
time been, an associated party of the licensee under investigation, if it is necessary to do so for the purposes of that investigation.
(3) An inspector may not investigate the business of a person unless the Commission has
informed the person in writing about the proposed investigation.
(4) A licensee or party being investigated, and a person who is or has been a director,
partner, manager, employee, compliance officer or agent of a licensee or party being investigated, or a person who is or has been a shareholder in the licensee or party, must:
(a) produce to an inspector, when and where the inspector requires, all documents in
the person’s custody or power relating to that licensee or party; and
(b) appear before the inspector, when and where the inspector requires, and answer
the questions put by the inspector about the licensee or party; and
(c) provide the inspector with all other assistance required in connection with the
investigation that the person is reasonably able to provide.
(5) The inspector may take copies of or extracts from any documents produced to him or her under paragraph (4)(a).
(6) A person must not, without reasonable excuse:
(a) obstruct an inspector; or
(b) fail to comply with a request made by an inspector to the person in accordance
with this Act; or
(c) fail to provide all reasonable assistance to an inspector in exercising or purporting
to exercise a right conferred on the inspector by this section.
(7) The costs and expenses of an investigation and report are payable by the licensee being
investigated and may be recovered by the Commission as a debt due to the Commission.
(8) This section applies to a former licensee that is a company as it applies to a licensee, but
only in connection with the business, ownership or control of the former licensee while he or she was a licensee.
12 Exchange of information with other supervisors (1) This section applies despite section 13.
(2) The Commission may do all or any of the following acts:.
(a) enter into an agreement or understanding with another domestic or foreign
insurance supervisor to share relevant supervisory information or to otherwise work together; and
(b) exchange the following information with another domestic or foreign insurance
(i) relevant supervisory information; and
(ii) relevant financial data about a supervised entity; and
(iii) objective information on individuals holding positions of responsibility in a supervised entity.
(3) Before exchanging or sharing information with another insurance supervisor, the
Commission must take reasonable steps:
(a) to ensure that any information given to another insurance supervisor will be treated as confidential by the receiving supervisor and will be used only for supervisory purposes; and
(b) to be satisfied that the insurance supervisor receiving the information will consult
with the Commission if it proposes to take action on the evidence of the information received from the Commission.
13 Confidentiality (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Commission may:
(a) explain its policy objectives to the public; and
(b) report on its activities and performance in pursuing its objectives; and
(c) provide information to the public on insurers that have problems or have failed in
their operations and the actions taken by the Commission to address these problems and failures.
(2) Any information from which a person or entity can be identified, that is acquired by the
Commission in the course of carrying out its functions, must not be publicly disclosed by the Commission or by its members, officers and staff.
(3) Information referred to in subsection (2) may only be disclosed publicly by the
Commission, if either of the circumstances in subsection (4) applies and the disclosure appears to the Commission to be necessary:
(a) to enable the Commission to carry out any of its functions; or
(b) for the purposes of the investigation, prevention or detection of crime or with a view to the instigation of, or otherwise for the purposes of, any criminal proceedings; or
(c) in connection with the discharge of any international obligation to which Vanuatu is subject.:
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), the circumstances are:
(a) each person and entity that can be identified from that information
consents to the public disclosure; or
(b) the disclosure is expressly authorized or required by or under an Act
relating to the Commission’s statutory functions.
(5) Information referred to in subsection (2) must also be disclosed if required by an order of
(6) A person must not without reasonable excuse disclose information, or cause or permit
information to be disclosed, in contravention of this section.
PART 3 – LICENCES
14 Licence to conduct insurance business (1) A person must not act as an insurer or re-insurer unless the person possesses an insurer
licence issued by the Commission under this Act.
(2) Subsection (1) does not require the re-insurer of a licensed insurer to be licensed if the re-
insurer does not carry on other insurance business in or from Vanuatu.
(3) An insurer must not carry on domestic business unless it is authorised to do so in its
(4) An insurer:
(a) for a mutual company – must be limited by guarantee; and
(b) for any other company - must be limited by shares and have its share capital paid
(5) For an insurer that is a protected cell company:
(a) the company must be licensed; and
(b) each cell that operates as an insurer must be authorised to do so by the licence;
(c) the company must not add an insurer cell without the approval of the
(6) An international insurer must have its head office in Vanuatu or appoint a licensed
insurance manager in Vanuatu to represent the international insurer.
(7) A captive insurer must appoint a licensed insurance manager in Vanuatu to represent the
(8) A licence remains in force for one year and may be renewed on payment of the
prescribed renewal fee.
(9) Lloyd’s is exempted from the licensing requirements in this Act, if the supervisor in its
home country provides the Commission with free access, at all times, to all information about Lloyd’s business in Vanuatu.
15 Domestic insurers to maintain assets (1) The Commission must not grant to an insurer, a licence to conduct domestic business,
unless the insurer maintains at all times in Vanuatu, assets which are equal to its outstanding claims liabilities, in trust with a bank licensed by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.
(2) The assets must be in the form of:
(a) cash; or
(b) securities approved by the Commission.
(3) The Commission may take possession of the assets to pay the insurer’s claimholders if it
determines that the insurer has ceased to pay its claims.
16 Licensing of insurance broker, insurance agent and independent insurance
salesperson (1) A person must not sell insurance, offer insurance for sale or in other ways provide
insurance services unless the person is licensed as:
(a) an insurer; or
(b) an insurance manager; or
(c) an insurance agent; or
(d) an insurance broker; or
(e) an independent insurance salesperson; or
(f) an insurance intermediary.
(2) A licence under this Act must state the activity covered by the licence.
(3) The holder of a licence may only carry on the activity covered by the licence.
(4) An insurance agent, insurance broker or insurance salesperson can be a natural person, a
partnership, a company limited by shares or a company limited by guarantee.
17 Application for licence (1) An application for a licence must be:
(a) in the form approved by the Commission; and
(b) signed by the applicant; and
(c) given to the Commission.
(2) The application must contain:
(a) a description of the business the applicant intends to conduct; and
(b) for a body corporate – information on the background, competency, experience
and qualifications of the applicant’s significant owners, board members and senior management, to assist the Commission to determine, whether each of them is a fit and proper person to lead the entity, in terms of personal character, such as honesty and integrity and their competence to understand and be able to fulfill the responsibilities imposed by this Act; and
(c) a copy of the applicant’s business plan projected for a minimum of three years,
including, for an insurer -the classes of business, source of business, financial projections, proposed capital, projected development of business and reinsurance arrangements; and
(d) for an insurer - other than a captive insurer:
(i) the applicant’s risk management systems, including internal control systems, information technology systems and the policies and procedures adequate for the nature and scale of the proposed business; and
(ii) information on the applicant’s reporting arrangements to its own
(iii) if the insurer is a subsidiary of a foreign company, a written statement
from the applicant’s home supervisory authority about the applicant’s status; and
(e) information on contracts, with affiliates and outsourcing arrangements; and
(f) for an insurance agent, the agency agreement with the insurance company.
18 Additional information and consideration of a licence application (1) Before making a decision on an application for a licence, the Commission may require the applicant to give the Commission any additional information necessary to assist the Commission to make a decision on the application and may also require the applicant to verify that information.
(2) In making a decision on an application, the Commission may take into consideration any other information about the applicant, whether obtained from another insurance supervisory authority or elsewhere.
(3) Before considering an information referred to in subsection (2), the Commission must:
(a) provide the information to the applicant; and
(b) allow the applicant to respond to the information within a reasonable time.
(4) After considering an application, the Commission must, within 90 days of receiving all
additional information required under subsection (1):
(a) grant the application on the condition that the applicant must take any necessary steps to comply with this Act and pay the prescribed fee; or
(b) refuse the application.
(5) If the Commission refuses an application, the Commission must:
(a) inform the applicant in writing of the refusal; and
(b) provide the applicant with the reasons as to why the Commission has refused the
(c) inform the applicant that he or she may appeal against the decision under section
19 Licence (1) After the Commission has granted a licence to an applicant, the Commission must issue
to the applicant a licence of the kind applied for within 14 days of being satisfied that the applicant is in a position to comply with this Act..
(2) A licence must:
(a) be in the form approved by the Commission; and
(b) state that the applicant is entitled to act as a domestic insurer, captive
insurer, international insurer, insurance manager, insurance agent, insurance broker, independent insurance salesperson or other insurance intermediary, as the case requires; and
(c) state whether the licensee may or may not conduct domestic insurance business.
(3) The Commission must give the licensee a certified copy of the licence.
20 Conditions of licence (1) A licence is subject to any condition the Commission imposes, having regard to:
(a) the information available to the Commission about the licensee and any of its key individuals; and
(b) the products and services that the licensee could provide or intends to provide;
(c) the category of the licence; and
(d) any guidelines issued by the Commission.
(2) A licence is also subject to the conditions set out in this section.
(3) It is a condition of a licence that:
(a) the licensee obtain the Commission’s approval before replacing a key individual, or appointing a new key individual; and :
(b) the licensee must inform the Commission:
(i) of any change in the information on which the licence was granted as soon as the licensee becomes aware of the change; and
(ii) if there is a change in the personal circumstances of a key individual that may result in the key individual no longer meeting the fit and proper requirements of this Act.
(4) The conditions the Commission may impose on an insurer include:
(a) permitting the insurer to enter into only certain life or general policies determined by the Commission; and
(b) permitting the insurer to enter into certain life or general policies determined by
the Commission only if those policies contain, or do not contain, particular terms or conditions determined by the Commission; and
(c) limiting the amount or value of the policy benefits to be provided by the insurer to
an amount or value determined by the Commission; and
(d) limiting the amount of premium the insurer may receive, during a period determined by the Commission, for all or certain life or general policies determined by the Commission; and
(e) requiring the insurer to enter into reinsurance policies to reinsure a portion
determined by the Commission of the liabilities incurred by it for all or certain life or general policies determined by the Commission during a period determined by the Commission; and
(f) any other conditions reasonably necessary to ensure that the insurer’s insurance
business is carried on soundly and the insurer is able to meet its liabilities.
21 Variation and cancellation of conditions of a licence (1) The Commission may at any time after the issue of a licence:
(a) cancel or vary a condition of a licence, on application by the licensee or on the Commission’s initiative; and
(b) impose new conditions on the licence or vary an existing condition if the insurer appoints a new key individual, or there is a change in the personal
circumstances of a key individual so that the key individual no longer satisfies the fit and proper person requirements of this Act.
(2) Before varying the conditions of a licence, the Commission must:
(a) inform the licensee about the variation; and
(b) allow the licensee to make comments on the variation within a reasonable time; and
(c) consider the licensee’s comments.
22 A licensee’s obligation (1) A licensee must:
(a) maintain a principal office in Vanuatu where the licensee’s books and records are kept; and
(b) ensure that all business documents, advertisements and other promotional material
refer to the fact that the licensee is licensed; and
(c) ensure that the licence is at all times available to a person asking for proof that the
licensee is licensed.
(2) The Commission must approve a change of insurance manager by a licensee that is a company.
23 Reporting duties of an insurance manager (1) An insurance manager must give the Commission as soon as practicable, any information
he or she may have that indicates that an insurer he or she manages:
(a) is conducting business in a manner that exposes the insurer to a risk of insolvency; or
(b) is not complying with this Act or the Regulations; or
(c) has defaulted on a payment of any of its liabilities; or
(d) is experiencing difficulties that may prejudice the interests of the policyholders or
creditors of the company; or
(e) is acting in a manner that may be detrimental to the interests of the policyholders
or shareholders of the company; or
(f) is subject to criminal investigations or proceedings in any country; or
(g) is carrying on business that is not covered by its licence; or
(h) has ceased to carry on business.
(2) An insurance manager who ceases to manage an insurer must inform the Commission as soon as practicable.
24 Restriction on activities of insurer (1) A licensed insurer may conduct either general insurance business, or life insurance
business, but may not conduct both general insurance business and both life insurance business.
(2) A licensed insurer that is a re-insurer may provide either general reinsurance business, or
life reinsurance business, but may not operate simultaneously, a general reinsurance business and life reinsurance.
(3) A licensed insurer may only carry on the insurance business that it is authorized to carry
on by its licence, unless in accordance with and subject to the conditions the Commission determines otherwise for:
(a) a particular insurer; or
(b) insurers generally.
25 Suspension of a licence (1) The Commission may, subject to sub-section (2), at any time suspend a licence if it is
satisfied, on the basis of available facts and information, that the licensee no longer meets the licensing requirements.
(2) Before suspending a licence, the Commission must give the licensee notice in writing
(a) that the Commission intends to suspend the licence; and
(b) the grounds for the suspension; and
(c) the intended period of the suspension; and
(d) any conditions to be attached to the suspension, as set out in subsection (3).
(3) The conditions that may be attached to a suspension include:
(a) a ban on accepting any new business by the licensee from the date
of the suspension; and
(b) for existing business - the measures the Commission determines necessary to protect the interests of customers of the licensee; and
(c) what the licensee needs to do so that the suspension may be lifted.
(4) The Commission must give the licensee a reasonable opportunity to respond to the notice
(5) The Commission must consider the licensee’s response and may decide to suspend or not to suspend the licence.
(6) The Commission must notify the licensee in writing of its decision.
(7) The Commission may provisionally suspend a licence without notice to the licensee if:
(a) the Commission has reasonable grounds to consider that substantial prejudice to customers or the general public may occur; and
(b) the circumstances are urgent.
(8) As soon as practicable after provisionally suspending a licence, the Commission must, in writing, inform the licensee:
(a) that the licence has been provisionally suspended; and
(b) of the grounds for the provisional suspension; and
(c) of the period of the provisional suspension.
(9) The Commission must give the licensee a reasonable opportunity to respond to the notice of provisional suspension.
(10) The Commission must consider the licensee’s response and may decide to:
(a) revoke the provisional suspension; or
(b) make the provisional suspension final.
(11) The Commission must notify the licensee in writing of its decision.
(12) The Commission must publish a notice of the suspension or provisional suspension in a
newspaper circulating in Vanuatu and in any other way it considers appropriate.
26 Revocation of the suspension of a licence (1) The Commission must revoke the suspension of a licence as soon as practicable after:
(a) the licensee has complied with the Commission’s requirements; or
(b) the circumstances that led to the suspension have ceased to exist.
(2) The Commission must publish a notice that the suspension has been revoked in a
newspaper circulating in Vanuatu and in any other way it considers appropriate.
27 Cancellation of a licence (1) The Commission may at any time, cancel a licence, if the Commission is satisfied on the
basis of facts and information available to the Commission, that the licensee:
(a) when applying for the licence, did not make a full disclosure of all the relevant information to the Commission; or
(b) when applying for the licence, gave false or misleading information; or
(c) has made a material misrepresentation to members of the public in connection
with its business; or
(d) has failed to comply with a material condition of the licence; or
(e) has contravened or failed to comply with a material provision of this Act.
(2) Before canceling a licence, the Commission must give the licensee notice in writing
(a) that the Commission intends to cancel the licence; and
(b) the grounds for the cancellation.
(3) The Commission must give the licensee a reasonable opportunity to respond to the notice
(4) The Commission must consider the licensee’s response and may decide to:
(a) cancel or not cancel the licence; or
(b) suspend the licence.
(5) The Commission must notify the licensee in writing of its decision.
(6) The Commission must publish a notice of the cancellation in a newspaper circulating in
Vanuatu and in any other way it considers appropriate.
28 Failure to commence or continue a licensed business (1) The Commission may cancel a licence if the licensee:
(a) fails to commence its business within 6 months after the licence is granted; or
(b) has ceased to carry on its licensed business to an extent that does not justify the
continuation of the licence; or
(c) requests the Commission in writing to cancel the licence because the licensee
intends to cease to carry on its licensed business.
(2) Before canceling a licence on the grounds set out in paragraph (1)(a) or (1)(b), the
Commission must give the licensee notice in writing stating:
(a) that the Commission intends to cancel the licence; and
(b) the grounds for the cancellation; and
(c) that the licensee:
(i) must not conduct any more insurance business; and
(ii) must make arrangements satisfactory to the Commission to discharge its
insurance-related obligations before the date specified in the notice; and
(d) that the Commission will cancel the licence when it is satisfied that the licensee no longer has any insurance-related obligations.
(3) The Commission must provide the licensee with an opportunity to respond to the notice
(4) The Commission must consider the licensee’s response and may decide to cancel or not to cancel the licence.
(5) The Commission must notify the licensee in writing of its decision.
(6) The Commission must cancel a licence if a licensee’s insurance business has ceased
because of a merger or transfer to another licensee or if the licensee has been liquidated.
(7) The Commission must publish notice of the cancellation in a newspaper circulating in
Vanuatu and in any other way it considers appropriate.
29 Prohibition on using certain words or doing certain acts (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person other than a licensee must not use the word "insure
"assure” "underwrite", “indemnity”, “guarantee” or “surety”, or a derivative of any of those words, in the title or description of his or her business.
(2) The Commission may permit a specific business to use any of the words referred to in
(3) When describing its business, a licensee must explicitly state whether it is a general insurer, life insurer, insurance manager, insurance agent, insurance broker, an independent insurance salesperson or an insurance intermediary.
(4) A licensee must not change its name without the prior approval of the Commission.
30 Unlicensed person cannot conduct insurance business (1) A person must not carry on insurance business of any kind unless the person is licensed
to carry on insurance business of that kind.
(2) A person must not use a licence or a copy of a licence for business purposes if:
(a) the licence has lapsed or has been cancelled; or
(b) the licence is suspended or provisionally suspended.
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