1.1 Which government bodies/agencies regulate insurance (and reinsurance) companies?
The Central Bank of Ireland (the "CBI") is responsible for authorising and supervising all financial institutions in Ireland, including insurance and reinsurance companies.
1.2 What are the requirements/procedures for setting up a new insurance (or reinsurance) company?
In order to set up a (re)insurance company in Ireland, it is necessary to incorporate a company and obtain authorisation from the CBI.
When establishing a new (re)insurance company, promoters are permitted to adopt different types of corporate organisations (e.g. a public limited company, a private limited company in the form of a designated activity company ("DAC"), a company limited by guarantee, an unlimited company or a European Company (SE)).
However, the most common form of company used is a private limited company in the form of a DAC. The incorporation process involves an application to the Companies Registration Office and a company can be incorporated within five business days of an application being made.
DACs were introduced into Irish law in June 2015 by virtue of the Companies Act, 2014 and are similar in form and substance to the private company limited by shares that existed prior to 1 June 2015. They will have a "constitution" comprising: (i) a memorandum of association; and (ii) articles of association. The constitution will retain a main objects clause which sets out the activities which the (re)insurance company has the corporate capacity to undertake.
To obtain authorisation from the CBI, the promoters are required to submit certain information, including a "scheme of operations" which comprises a detailed business plan for the proposed (re) insurer. The business plan should contain financial projections for a three-year period on a pessimistic, realistic and optimistic basis. It should also include comprehensive details of the nature of the (re) insurance products that it is proposed the (re)insurer will write, the intended market for the products and distribution channels. Draft policy documentation should be submitted as part of the application. The CBI has issued detailed guidance on the authorisation process, i.e. explaining the process and timing for the submission of the application for authorisation, together with a "Checklist" (discussed below) of the matters which should be addressed in the application and the documents that should be included in...