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APRA extends deadline for foreign insurers

26 May 2008

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) announced today that the deadline for foreign insurers wishing to apply for a licence to write business in Australia after 1 July has been extended.
The application deadline will now be 30 June instead of 31 May. Those foreign insurers who submit their application and pay the application fee by 30 June will be allowed to continue to operate in the Australian market for up to six months while their application is processed.
APRA Member John Trowbridge said ‘APRA is confident that this six month timeframe will be sufficient for APRA to conclude its assessment of applications. Extending the deadline for the submission of applications will also assist foreign insurers who have, to date, been uncertain whether they will apply for authorisation’.
Following the passage of the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Discretionary Mutual Funds and Direct Offshore Foreign Insurers) Act 2007 on13 September 2007, foreign insurers wishing to continue operating in the Australian market must be authorised by APRA.
In announcing the new authorisation requirement for foreign insurers last year, the government said the new licensing requirement was designed to ensure that Australian policyholders have the security of Australia’s strong prudential regime for general insurers.
Some business will still be able to be placed with foreign insurers that are not APRA-authorised as long as this business is placed in accordance with the exemption regime outlined on 8 April 2008 by Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen, (click here for this announcement).
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA is funded largely by the industries that it supervises. It was established on 1 July 1998. APRA currently supervises institutions holding approximately $3 trillion in assets for 21 million Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.