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Smaller South Asian markets: Business establishment criteria: A short guide

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Dec 2014

Bangladesh
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) is the Bangladeshi insurance regulator. IDRA is responsible for the registration and certification of insurers, re(insurers), intermediates and the renewal or withdrawal of their registration, as well as the supervision of their business.
 
Insurers can operate either as either locally incorporated corporations or branches of a foreign incorporated insurance company.
 
Foreign investors are allowed to hold up to 60% of the shares of the paid-up capital in any Bangladeshi insurance company.
The 2010 Insurance Act sets the minimum capital requirements for life insurance companies at BDT300 million (US$3.88 million) and BDT400 million ($5.17 million) for non-life insurers.
 
Bhutan
The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMAB) is the designated authority for the regulation of insurance companies and their business in Bhutan.
 
A foreign insurer may not carry on insurance business in Bhutan without establishing a locally incorporated company that is registered as a Public Limited Company in Bhutan.
 
A foreign investor may not hold more than 70% of the paid-up capital of any insurance company in Bhutan. 
 
The current minimum paid-up capital for an insurance company in Bhutan is BTN100 million ($1.63 million) which must be increased to BTN 200 million ($3.26 million) within three years of commencing business.
 
Maldives
The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) is the designated authority for the regulation and supervision of the insurance industry in the Maldives. 
 
Both Maldives incorporated entities (including subsidiaries of foreign insurers) and branches of foreign insurers are permitted to conduct insurance business in the Maldives.
 
There are no restrictions related to foreign direct investment, however, foreign investors must seek and obtain approval from the Foreign Investment Services Bureau (FISB) prior to their investment. 
 
The minimum capital requirement for life insurers is set at MVR250,000 ($16,265) and MVR350,000 ($22,772) for non-life insurers. 
 
Nepal
Beema Samiti (Insurance Board) is the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Nepal. The board oversees the insurance industry and is responsible for registering insurers, insurance agents, insurance brokers and insurance surveyors.
 
Insurers can operate either as either locally incorporated corporations or branches of a foreign incorporated insurance company. An insurer who wishes to open additional branch offices to expand their insurance business must first get permission from the Insurance Board.
 
Foreigners may invest only in private limited companies and in public limited companies registered with the Company Register Office (CRO). 
 
A license may be cancelled if the head office of a foreign insurer is located outside of Nepal and the Nepalese insurer has not obtained equal facilities that are enjoyed by the foreign insurer.
 
An insurer will not be registered if its paid-up capital does not amount to at least NPR250 million ($2.5 million) for the life insurance business, and at least NPR100 million ($1 million for the non-life insurance business.
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