The Insurance Authority (IA), which started operations last month, will work with the industry to draw up a code of conduct and other requirements for the licensing and training of salespeople over the next two years before licensing applications begin.
Mr Stephen Po, the IA's Executive Director of Market Conduct, said: “There will be a lot of guidelines, to make sure only fit and proper people can get a licence to sell policies to the public.”
The regulator plans to spend its first two years determining new licensing requirements for the roughly 100,000 insurance salespeople in the city, but will not grant any exemptions from tougher regulations, reported South China Morning Post.
Mr Moses Cheng Mo-chi, IA Chairman, said: “At present, there is no plan for any grandfather clause for existing agents. This means all of the roughly 100,000 insurance salespeople in Hong Kong will need to meet the minimum qualifications to apply for the licence.”
“They will all need to receive training every year to continue selling policies in Hong Kong. This means some existing agents may not be able to get a licence for them to stay in the industry.”
Mr Cheng also said the authority has no plans to regulate products.
“Hong Kong is a free market so we don’t want to add restrictions on the products. However, we would require companies to give fair treatment to policyholders when they design products,” he said.
The IA replaced the government department, The Office of Commissioner of Insurance, which was previously responsible for regulating insurance companies. Under the former system, insurance salespeople did not have to apply for a licence, but needed to register with three different self-regulating bodies.