Insurance companies

List of insurance companies in jurisdictions offshore:

  • Mauritius Insurance Companies. The insurance industry in Mauritius is well developed and makes extensive use of reinsurance facilities. Insurance regulation and supervision is entrusted to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
  • Samoa Insurance Companies. The Samoa offshore insurance legislation provides an attractive but supervised environment for the establishment and operation of international insurance activities including captive insurance and reinsurance companies.
  • Seychelles Insurance Companies. A captive insurance or reinsurance company is a limited purpose insurance or reinsurance company established primarily for the purpose of insuring the risks associated with a single organization, such as a corporation (a 'single-owner captive') or corporate group (sometimes referred to as a 'group captive'), or the members and affiliates of an association (sometimes referred to as an 'association captive'). There are other variations on the captive concept, but these are among the most widely used forms.
  • St. Vincent and Grenadines Class V Captive Insurance Company.St. Vincent and the Grenadines has identified the international insurance sector as an excellent growth area. The present insurance regime offers a great deal of flexibility to insurers wishing to conduct international insurance business.
  • Cook Islands Insurance Companies. An offshore insurance company, usually referred to as a "captive" insurance company, is generally a subsidiary of a large company or group of companies.
  • Captive Insurance in Nevis. In recent years Nevis has become known as home to a very large number of reinsurance companies, which have been established there without any licensing requirements. Now, the Nevis Island Government, as part of an overall policy of ensuring that the jurisdiction has a regulatory regime and regulatory standards in keeping with international best practices, has enacted the International Insurance Ordinance, which came into effect on November 1, 2004.
  • Anguilla Insurance License Insurance business is defined in the usual way as either a long-term business or general business. The long-term business is issuing annuities, life insurance, or insuring against accidents.
  • Belize Insurance Companies. An insurance company can be established in Belize under the International Insurance Act. This is the legislation that governs the operation of captive insurance companies, reinsurance companies and other insurers that have a legitimate need for an international licence.
  • Antigua Insurance Companies. An internal insurance licence permits an IBC to engage in any insurance business other than domestic insurance. The Superintendent of International Insurance Corporations is empowered to revoke or suspend the licence if its registration is deemed to be detrimental to public interest. A stated capital of at least US$250,000 must be maintained at all times. Annual audited accounts must be filed with the Superintendent of International Insurance Corporations.
  • Saint Vincent insurance companies. Under the International Insurance (Amendment and Consolidation) Act, 1998, five classes of insurance companies are permitted.
  • Dominica Exempt Insurance Companies Exempt insurance companies can issue a license in Dominica. A company can obtain a license to provide Management Services to an exempt insurance company, including accounting, administrative, brokerage and underwriting services and the processing claims for these type of business.

Offshore insurance companies

Insurance companies of the offshore type belong, together with offshore bank and trust companies among the most up-to-date tools in the field of tax planning and tax optimisation. Like offshore banks insurance companies formed in offshore jurisdictions also enjoy the liberal environment of the offshore system and legislation.

There exists a number of types of offshore insurance licenses, beginning with the full international license, through a number of limited licenses to a license for additional insurance or underwriter or insurance broker licenses. Every jurisdiction has its own laws and classes of individual licenses which offer some of the below listed forms of licenses.

General Unrestricted Offshore License

This is a full international offshore insurance license, which usually does not have any restriction of activities, which means that on the basis of this license it is possible to insure, secure insurance or reinsure without limitation, including providing life policies or policies for other insurance companies from offshore or onshore jurisdictions.

Restricted Offshore License

Basically this concerns a full international insurance license which, however, has specific restrictions, such as an upper limit for the maximum amount of insurance policies, not providing life policies, foreign exchange restrictions, etc.

Restricted In-house License

The Restricted In-house License is a license which enables its holders to provide insurance services exclusively to a group of natural persons or legal entities who are the subject matter of the license or to the proprietor of the insurance company. This type of insurance company is intensively used by international holdings, banks, insurance companies and tax optimisation funds. The most frequented seat of these insurance companies are the Bermuda Islands, where at present about 3,000 internal insurance companies are registered, which administer insurance policies amounting to several billions of USD.

Re-Insurance License

This is a company, which itself cannot insure but which can only accept an insurance policy and subsequently secure it at another commercial onshore or offshore insurance company, often at a wholesale price. The home country of the re-insurance companies is the Caribbean island Nevis, where you can get a re-insurance company at a price about USD 2,000. A re-insurance company is an extremely excellent tool for tax planning intended de facto for any business, consulting or investment company.

Another chapter could be formed by licensed underwriters, brokers or trustees who can get licenses for international offshore activities in a number of offshore jurisdictions for international offshore activities at relatively advantageous conditions.

A major part of the insurance companies of the Offshore type, like ordinary business offshore companies, are not subject to taxation of their profits, but they often pay a certain type of lump-sum tax only or appropriate license fees.

These fees are an important aspect while deciding about the extension of a license or its cancellation on the part of authorities.

The main characteristics of offshore insurance licenses can be defined as follows:

  • Low interventions on the part of authorities and institutions
  • Lower capital requirements than in the case of other jurisdictions
  • Tax aspects, they are often exempted from all forms of direct taxes
  • Tax on profits are replaced with lump-sum taxes
  • Low establishment fees
  • Low license fees
  • Liberal requirements connected with the operation of the insurance company
  • Offshore insurance companies are often not subject to foreign exchange restrictions
  • Licenses are easily available in a number of offshore jurisdictions
  • In a number of countries no obligation of capital adequacy maintenance
  • Possibility of concluding all types of insurance policies, including life policies

Offshore insurance companies can be used for two basic types of activities:

  • for proper insurance, security, reinsurance or other similar activities
  • for tax planning purposes

Using an offshore insurance company for insurance activities

Many offshore insurance companies provide their clients with insurance services which can include various types of insurance coverage of a high risk - for example against events of negligence and misuse of official authority, corporate liability, against a possible strike as well as insurance of other risks which would be very expensive if agreed upon with ordinary onshore insurance companies. The ability of make profits of providing these services depends to a significant extent on competition on the market and on the price of the insurance policy when purchased from standard providers in an onshore jurisdiction.

Indeed, insurance business activities have become a highly profitable matter for many private international offshore insurance companies, and it is no exception that an offshore branch office of an insurance company is more profitable than its parent onshore company. Since in many cases the onshore insurers charged an unbelievable premium - or refused to conclude an insurance policy at all - the parties which were exposed to a high risk did not have any other possibility but contacting offshore institutions which were glad to meet their requirements, often even with a discount. Some of them only contacted the renowned foreign insurance companies which were willing to take over the coverage of the risks at more acceptable premium than onshore insurance companies. Other, mostly professional groups, holdings or individuals with common risks tended to establish co-operation insurance pools, operating either in offshore locations or in such states as Vermont (USA) or Colorado(also USA), which had more tolerating insurance regulations, and which in turn provided insurance to all members of the interest group.

Use of an offshore insurance company for tax planning purposes

An offshore insurance company may help the international insurance community not only in the field of tax planning, asset protection, but also for the purpose of increasing image and goodwill of the group (or holding), which thus can declare ownership of an insurance company and its capitals strength.

Who can use an insurance company for tax planning purposes? It is possible to state that almost anyone whose business activity nature is of such a type that this legal entity can be made use of. The ownership of an offshore company brings several basic advantages. The first advantage is a simple fact that this company provides a certain type of insurance at all. Conservative insurers continue to consider many companies and transactions to be too risky and they simply refuse to provide a standard insurance, or if one manages to persuade them to make an insurance policy quotation, they require such restrictive conditions that it is virtually impossible to conclude it. That is why a company which needs to conclude an non-conventional insurance policy before starting a new project can get into a situation that it will have to leave its plans due to the impossibility of finding an insurance (reinsurance) coverage. But an insurance policy provided by an International Captive Insurance Company, for which it is possible to find reinsurance more easily on the part of a conventional re-insurer, can solve similar problems for many firms. In comparison with costs of coverage provided by domestic insurers, the insurance premium rate at the international institution will probably be much lower.

Second, there are also tax advantages resulting from the insurance at an international insurance institution, because the costs charged by an insurance company formed in this manner can be included into the tax base of the company. In other words this means that all insurance contracts and policies concluded, for which an insurance company logically requires remuneration, can reduce the tax base of the parent company of the investor in an invoiced volume.

Offshore insurance company can conclude coverage for:

  • Risks connected with foreign activities
  • Export, import and all foreign activities
  • Insurance of persons in foreign countries (for example on business trips)
  • Insurance against loss from business risks
  • Risks connected with loans, guarantees, purchase of securities
  • Risks connected with professional liability

Offshore insurance companies are uniquely one of the most up-to-date tools of offshore strategies. Their use reaches from the providing of proper insurance companies for the general public to family insurance services which optimises tax burden of a very rich individual or to the service of cash flow active management at international firms.

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