Insurance Law

INTRODUCTION

The first insurance companies operating in Cyprus were registered in England, under the English Insurance Law, as there was no specific relevant local legislation in Cyprus. In 1969, the first Insurance Companies Law was enacted and the first insurance companies were registered in Cyprus and started carrying out operations.

APPLICABLE LAW

The development of the insurance sector in Cyprus has been very rapid and the initial legislation underwent various amendments. In 2003, Cyprus enacted Law 35(I)/2002 in order to comply fully with the European Union Directives on insurance companies. The new legislation brought about marked changes in relation to the regulatory framework of the insurance industry and introduced additional burdens for insurance companies in relation to solvency requirements.

The regulatory control of all insurance companies that operate in Cyprus has, ever since 1969, been exercised by the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, which forms part of the Ministry of Finance.

The carrying out of insurance activities in the Republic is allowed for Cypriot insurance companies that possess the required licence for this purpose, as well as foreign insurance companies that are registered under Cyprus Company Law and possess such a licence. Lloyds of London and insurance companies registered in EU Member States are also permitted to carry out such activities.

The law, in its aim to protect consumers, imposes, inter alia, various obligations on the insurance companies in relation to the information they provide prior to the conclusion of an insurance policy and on the form of advertising. It also contains provisions in relation to insurance mediation and the legal framework concerning the distribution methods of insurance products.

TYPES OF INSURANCE OPERATIONS

According to the law, insurance companies may carry out either general insurance or life business.

The classification of risks under general business includes, inter alia, the classes of Accident, Insurance, Motor Insurance, Aircraft, Marine (hull and cargo), Fire Insurance, Liability Insurance, and Loss of Profit whilst the classification of risks under life insurance includes, amongst others, the classes of Life Insurance and Health Insurance.

Motor Insurance and Liability Insurance are the only kinds of insurance for which cover is compulsory by law.

WORK UNDERTAKEN BY OUR PRACTICE

Extensive experience in litigation in this area – a service that dates back to the establishment of our Office – defending mostly accident claims on behalf of leading insurers in Cyprus and the Motor Insurers’ Fund.

We also offer advice on a broad range of insurance matters, including regulatory issues, setting-up requirements, mergers and acquisitions, drafting of insurance policies, advice on policy wording interpretations, claim settlements, insurance advertisements and agency agreements.

During recent years, our services have expanded to include the provision of legal opinions on and the carrying out of legal due diligence on the acquisition of Cyprus registered insurance companies by international investors.

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