Types of Insurance Entities

Insurers in Singapore comprise licensed insurers, authorised reinsurers, approved marine, aviation and transit (MAT) insurers and foreign insurers. Insurance brokers in Singapore comprise registered insurance brokers, approved MAT insurance brokers and approved reinsurance brokers.  

Find out the description of each type of insurance entity and their permitted activities.

Licensed Insurers

Insurers can be licensed as direct insurers, reinsurers or captive insurers.

Direct Insurers

Direct life insurers are licensed to write life policies as well as long-term accident and health policies. 

Direct general insurers are licensed to write all insurance business other than life policies and long-term accident and health policies. Direct general insurers include specialist insurers that write marine mutual insurance business, trade credit and political risk insurance business as well as financial guarantee insurance business. 

Direct composite insurers are licensed to write both life and general insurance business. 

Licensing: Direct insurer

Reinsurers

Reinsurers are licensed to write life reinsurance business and/or general reinsurance business in Singapore. They are not permitted to write direct business and are only allowed to assume all or a part of the insurance or reinsurance risk written by another insurer. 

Reinsurers include special purpose reinsurance vehicles that enter into insurance securitisation for purposes of fulfilling the obligations under the reinsurance contracts with the ceding insurers.

Licensing: Reinsurer |  Special Purpose Reinsurance Vehicle

Captive Insurers

Captive insurers are licensed to write insurance business which consists principally of risks of its related corporations. 

Licensing: Captive insurer 
Authorised Reinsurers

Authorised reinsurers do not have a physical presence in Singapore. They provide reinsurance of liabilities under insurance policies to persons in Singapore, and can be authorised as general reinsurers and/or life reinsurers.   

Authorisation: Authorised reinsurer

Approved MAT Insurers

Approved MAT insurers do not have a physical presence in Singapore. They do not write insurance business, other than the collection or receipt of premiums in relation to MAT insurance business.

Approval: Approved MAT insurer

Foreign Insurers

Foreign insurers are approved under the law of another country or territory to carry on insurance business in that country or territory. These insurers carry on business in Singapore under a foreign insurer scheme established under Part IIA of the Insurance Act. Currently there are two foreign insurer schemes in Singapore: The Lloyd's Scheme and the Lloyd’s Asia Scheme.

Lloyd's Asia Scheme

Lloyd’s members may carry on insurance business in Singapore through locally-incorporated service companies, which are registered with Lloyd’s of London (Asia) Pte Ltd, the approved Administrator of the scheme.  

Registered Insurance Brokers

Insurance brokers are registered under the Insurance Act , unless otherwise exempted. They may carry on insurance business in Singapore as an agent of insured persons or intending insured persons as:  

  • Direct insurance brokers in respect of insurance policies relating to general business and long-term accident and health policies. 
  • General reinsurance brokers in respect of the reinsurance of liabilities under insurance policies relating to general business. 
  • Life reinsurance brokers in respect of the reinsurance of liabilities under insurance policies relating to life business.

Registered direct insurance brokers may also hold a licence under the Insurance Act that allows them to place risks with Lloyd’s of London under the Lloyd’s Scheme. 

Note: 

  • Only registered insurance brokers and exempt insurance brokers who are exempt under section 35ZN of the Insurance Act are allowed to conduct insurance broking activities in Singapore. 
  • Exempt insurance brokers include banks, insurers, capital markets services licensees and licensed financial advisers. They are not required to be registered as insurance brokers but must comply with all the applicable business conduct requirements prescribed in the Insurance Act and subsidiary legislations, including the Insurance (Intermediaries) Regulations , and notices and guidelines issued to insurance brokers under the Insurance Act. 

Individuals Conducting Insurance Broking Activities

 
Individuals appointed as broking staff by registered insurance brokers and exempt insurance brokers are not required to be registered or authorised by the MAS but must comply with the minimum standards and examination requirements for broking staff set out in MAS Notice 502
 

Licensing: Registered insurance broker

Approved Insurance Brokers

Approved insurance brokers are licensed or authorised under the law of a designated country to carry on insurance broking activities in that country. 

They may carry on insurance broking activities in Singapore without the need to be registered under the Insurance Act and without any physical presence in Singapore as:

  • Approved marine, aviation and transit (MAT) insurance brokers in respect of marine, aviation and transit insurance business.
  • Approved general reinsurance brokers in respect of reinsurance of liabilities under insurance policies relating to general business.
  • Approved life reinsurance brokers in respect of reinsurance of liabilities under insurance policies relating to life business.

Note: For a list of the designated countries, see the First Schedule to the Insurance (Approved Marine, Aviation and Transit Insurance Brokers and Approved Reinsurance Brokers) Regulations

Representative Offices

Representative offices are not allowed to carry on or solicit insurance business in Singapore and can only carry on activities approved by MAS. 

Approval: Set up a Insurance Representative Office
General Insurance Agents
General insurance agents are regulated under section 35M of the Insurance Act . To arrange contracts of insurance for direct general insurers, general insurance agents must register with the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA)’s Agents’ Registration Board (ARB) through the principal insurers they intend to represent. More information on GIA ARB’s requirements for general insurance agents can be found in GIA’s website at https://gia.org.sg/agents.html .

Refer to the table for licensing and authorisation information and governing Acts for the different types of insurance entities. For a list of insurers and insurance brokers, see the Financial Institutions Directory.

Types of Insurance Entities              Governing Act Licensing and Authorisation

Licensed insurers

Insurance Act section 8

Foreign insurers

Insurance Act part IIA
  • Lloyd's Asia Scheme
  • Lloyd's Scheme
Authorised reinsurers Insurance Act section 34

Authorised reinsurer

Approved marine, aviation and transit (MAT) insurers Insurance (Approved Marine, Aviation and Transit Insurers) Regulations regulation 5
Approved MAT insurer
Registered insurance brokers Insurance Act section 35W and section 35ZG

Registered insurance broker

  • Registered direct insurance broker
  • Registered general reinsurance broker
  • Registered life reinsurance broker
  • Registered direct insurance broker authorised to place risks with Lloyd's of London under the Lloyd's Scheme
Approved insurance brokers Insurance (Approved Marine, Aviation and Transit Insurance Brokers and Approved Reinsurance Brokers) Regulations regulation 4

Approved insurance brokers

  • Approved MAT insurance broker
  • Approved general reinsurance broker
  • Approved life reinsurance broker
Representative office Insurance Act section 6A Set up insurance representative office
General insurance agents Insurance Act part IIB Division 1 Registration with the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA)'s Agents’ Registration Board (ARB)