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In the midst of global economic challenges, the insurance industry in Hong Kong has performed well. Due to the ageing population and rising of mass affluent class, the demand for insurance products and financial planning has gone up significantly. In the first half of 2016, total gross premiums achieved a strong year-on-year growth of 12.2%, amounted to $207.5 million.
In respect of policies issued to Mainland visitors, new office premiums amounted to $30.1 billion, representing roughly 37% of the total new office premiums for individual business in the first half of 2016.
Insurance business can be classified into long term and general businesses. Individual life and annuity (linked and non-linked), group life, and retirement scheme are major long term businesses which has high penetration in Hong Kong. In individual life business, premiums per capita of in-force policies reached $38,262 in 2014.
Accident and health, and general liability constitute the majority of general insurance business. Motor vehicle, ships, property damage and pecuniary loss are also part of the industry. In 2015, gross premiums of general business recorded a year-on-year growth of 4.7% to $46 billion.
1. Insurance Intermediaries
Frontline employs the largest workforce in insurance industry. As at the end of 2015, there were 84,065 appointed insurance agents (including responsible officers and technical representatives) and 10,130 authorized insurance brokers (including chief executives and technical representatives) operating in Hong Kong.
While insurance agents are contracted with an insurance company, insurance brokers are not affiliated with any insurance company. However, to ensure all the intermediaries are able to deliver adequate level of services to the public, both the agents and brokers must obtained authorizations or appointments.
Under the self-regulatory regime for insurance intermediaries, insurance agents, their responsible officers and technical representatives need to be registered with and monitored by the Insurance Agents Registration Board set up by The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Administration of Insurance Agents.
An insurance broker needs to be either authorized by the Insurance Authority or become a member of one of the two approved broker bodies, namely The Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers and Professional Insurance Brokers Association.
1. Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examination (IIQE)
IIQE opens to all who aims to be an insurance agent or a broker. Indeed it is a basic requirement to pass the Examination for all the insurance intermediaries, including their chief executives and responsible officers (people who are responsible for the overall conduct of the insurance intermediary business); and their technical representatives (people who advise on insurance matters to policy holders for insurance intermediaries, or negotiate or arrange contracts of insurance on behalf of intermediaries).
The Examination consists of 5 papers, whereas Paper I (Principles and Practice of Insurance) is compulsory and the others are required according to the type of business the candidate is going to participate in. The type of business can be general insurance, long term insurance or composite insurance.
|Paper I||Principles and Practice of Insurance (P&P)|
|Paper II||General Insurance (GI)|
|Paper III||Long Term Insurance (LT)|
|Paper V||Investment-linked Long Term Insurance (IL)|
|Paper VI||Travel Insurance Agents Examination (TIA)|
Remark: Paper IV (MPF Schemes) ceased to be part of the IIQE since 2013.
To learn more, you can visit the website of the PEAK Exam Centre under Vocational Training Council (https://www.peak.edu.hk).