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Saudi Arabia – aggregator rules - update

On 19 February 2020, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority ("SAMA") announced the issuance of the Rules Governing Insurance Aggregation Activities (the "Rules").

In summary, these Rules aim to regulate insurance aggregation activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by setting minimum requirements and controls needed for the granting of a license to conduct online insurance aggregation activities. The Rules also seek to regulate the relationship between the insurance online aggregator and insurance companies.

The Rules apply to all "Insurance Aggregation Activities", which are defined as online insurance brokerage activities carried out to complete the purchase of insurance policies for the insured. This includes the comparison of coverage and prices offered by insurance companies, and the facilitation of the sale and purchase of insurance policies.

Requirements

In order to obtain a license, an applicant must:

  • be a joint stock or limited liability company licensed to operate in Saudi Arabia; and
  • have a minimum capital of five hundred thousand Saudi Riyals (for an Insurance Aggregator) or three million Saudi Riyals (for an insurance broker conducting "Insurance Aggregation Activities").

SAMA will determine any additional minimum capital required based on the insurance lines and products specified by the applicant in their specific business plan, which must accompany an application. This business plan must include, as a minimum:

  • the insurance lines and products to be displayed on the electronic platform (and an analysis of the volume of online transactions expected over the next three years);
  • an analysis of the risks related to web transactions and the precautionary measures needed to reduce these risks; and
  • an emergency plan that includes actions to be taken should all or part of the electronic platform go down.

Finally, an applicant must also present a professional liability insurance policy for not less than five million Saudi Riyals (and this must cover negligence, errors and omissions).

Procedure

Once an application that meets the above requirements has been submitted to SAMA, the applicant may be provided with SAMA's initial non-objection. After which, the applicant must link with at least five insurance companies within sixty business days of the non-objection. The applicant must then launch a pilot electronic platform within a period specified by SAMA. Only after verification of the applicant's compliance with all of these steps will SAMA issue an insurance aggregator license.

Conclusion

The introduction of the Rules form part of SAMA's overall aspirations to develop the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's insurance market, and an efficient, strong supervisory framework with it. The Rules will enhance the Kingdom's financial services technologies and this corresponds to the overall Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to support entrepreneurship and encourage the insurance sector contribute more generally to the Kingdom's gross domestic product.

If you would like to discuss any of the above in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact the author of this briefing or your usual HFW contact.

John Barlow
Partner
T +971 56 466 3690
E john.barlow@hfw.com

Thomas Neighbour
Associate
+971 4 423 0515
thomas.neighbour@hfw.com

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