Hong Kong's Insurance Authority plans to introduce a licensing fast track for online-only insurance companies, accelerating an approval process which currently takes about 12 to 18 months.
Insurance Authority CEO John Leung Chi-yan, speaking at a regulatory conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, said that the fast track will apply to online-only insurers providing direct sales of basic life insurance, travel or personal accident coverage, reported the South China Morning Post. He stressed that the accelerated process will not apply to more complex insurance products requiring consultation with agents.
“For the more complicated life insurance products, which would require policyholders to contribute money for 20 or 30 years, it would not be appropriate for these to be sold online,” he said. “Qualified salesperson should clearly explain the products to customers.”
“Generally it would need 12 to 18 months for a traditional insurance applicant to get a licence. The fast track will be a separate queue for us to handle the application, so the process would be much faster,” he said.
“We believe there are advantages in encouraging more insurance companies to sell products online or via other digital channels. These types of digital sales would usually be cheaper as customers do not need to pay commissions to salespersons,” Mr Leung added.
He also said the Insurance Authority would introduce a regulatory “sandbox” to allow insurance companies to conduct pilot trials on new products.