Holborn disappears from IA list of

Added 4th March 2015

Holborn Assets, one of the largest insurance brokerages in the United Arab Emirates, has dropped off the Insurance Authoritys latest list of licensed firms in the region.

Holborn disappears from IA list of

Editor’s note: Editor’s note: This story was updated a week later, stating that Holborn Assets had remained authorised in the UAE following its absence from the Insurance Authority’s latest list of licenced firms in the region. Please read the updated story here

Its absence from the key UAE regulator’s list calls into question whether it is currently able to conduct business in the UAE, as IA licensed insurance companies are only allowed to sell through other IA licensed firms.

Holborn, which operates from its base in Dubai, was unavailable to contact for an explanation for the absence at the time of publishing.

However, it could confirm that it had renewed its licence with the IA at the end of last year.

The UAE regulator also did not answer calls.

In November last year, the Insurance Authority introduced a host of new costs and requirements for brokers operating in the UAE.

The paid up capital required by firms jumped from AED1m (€0.2m, £0.17m, $0.27m) to AED3m for locally incorporated firms and to AED10m for foreign companies.

As well as this, the IA increased the amount a broker must hold as an unconditional bank guarantee to AED3m for local firms, with an additional AED1m for each regional branch, and AED5m for foreign firms with a further AED3m for each additional branch.

One addition to the rules is a stipulation that brokers must enter into a formal legal agreement with insurers, with the insurer setting out its terms of business.

The IA also said insurers must have an agreement in place with at least two brokers.

Temporary suspension

In preparation for the changes, Holborn temporarily suspended its terms of business with Standard Life, Skandia International and RL360 in May last year, because the companies were not licensed by the IA.

Holborn’s chief executive, Bob Parker, told International Adviser at the time that, following its first visit from the IA in 15 years, it had taken the decision to suspend its terms with the companies in order to “meet the letter of the law”.

“The action taken by Holborn Assets is necessary to meet the letter of the law while Skandia, RL360° and Standard Life aim to finalise their respective negotiations with the regulators,” he said in a statement. “Holborn understands that all companies are in advanced talks with the Insurance Authority and other UAE regulators.”

Holborn was very clear it will continue to use the products of the companies impacted, outside of the UAE “where possible”.

In November last year, Standard Life International announced that it was to close its office in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The company said it had taken the decision “following changes in the regulatory landscape and resulting environment”. It added that it would contact all customers with an in-force savings and investment plan to offer them a closure value which included an 8% enhancement which will be paid into their plan.

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