Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding by The Insurance Supervisors of Ghana, Liberia. Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia on the establishment of “The West African Insurance Supervisors Association”

1.    Preamble
2.    Definitions
3.    Objectives and principles of cooperation
4.    Description of the group and identity of the competent authorities
5.    Confidentiality
6.    Responsibilities of the competent authorities
7.    Cooperation in going concern situations
8.    Cooperation in emergency situations

APPENDIX 1 – Supervisors Contact List

1.    Preamble
A.   Whereas The National Insurance Commission, Ghana, The Central Bank of Liberia, The National Insurance Commission, Nigeria, The Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission and The Central Bank of The Gambia are the insurance regulators in the English speaking countries of West Africa.
B.   insurance industry is fundamental to the development of enterprises, the mobilization of savings and investments, and the promotion of economic growth;
C.    the increasing operation of cross border network by branches and/ or offshore subsidiaries in the insurance sector adds a new and dynamic dimension to the economies of countries;
D.   international mutual cooperation can facilitate growth, development and can facilitate effective regulation and efficient performance of the functions with which each insurance supervisor is entrusted within their respective jurisdictions; 
E.    insurance industry play a key role in the integration and harmonisation aspirations of ECOWAS.

NOW THEREFOR, The National Insurance Commission, Ghana, The Central Bank of Liberia, The National Insurance Commission, Nigeria, The Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission and The Central Bank of The Gambia (hereinafter referred to as The West Africa Insurance Supervisors Association, WAISA or “the Members” or individually as “Member”) have mutually agreed to enter into this Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMOU) in the desire to establish a mutually acceptable basis for cooperation and consultations and to achieve their common objectives on the terms provided hereunder.
The acceptable basis for cooperation and consultation shall take the form of a forum to be known and addressed as “West Africa Insurance Supervisors Association (WAISA)

2.    Definitions
For the purposes of this MMoU, unless the context states otherwise:
WAISA means West African Insurance Supervisors Association.
IAIS means International Association of Insurance Supervisors.
the Group” is described in paragraph 4.
competent authority” means a national authority that is empowered by law to supervise insurance operators.  Competent authorities of the Group are listed in paragraph 4.3.
“insurer” means every insurance company and reinsurance company that is regulated by the competent authority in each member state.
supervisory college” is a forum meeting for cooperation which gathers the competent authorities who are members of WAISA.
“Emergency situation” means any situation or event that could materially affect or impair the financial or operational condition of an insurance entity or substantially affect the public interest of the jurisdiction of a competent authority and that, accordingly, should be handled in an expedited manner.

3.    Proviso and Objectives of cooperation
1.    The following proviso shall apply to this MMoU:
(a)  The MMoU may be amended, if necessary, to reflect significant changes to the Group and changes to WAISA membership and activities.  It may also be amended, if needed, to remain compatible with the IAIS principles and standards.
(b)  The provisions of this MMoU do not create any legally binding obligations nor does it modify or supersede any jurisdictional law; nor does this MMoU create any directly or indirectly enforceable rights. This MMoU does not affect any provisions under other multilateral or bilateral agreements. This MMoU does not affect the freedom of the competent authorities to cooperate and exchange information on an informal basis or beyond the scope of this MMoU.
(c)  Cooperation among the competent authorities with respect to group matters takes place mainly through the Secretariats of the West African Insurance Supervisors Association. This MMoU may also provide a framework for bilateral cooperation, when necessary, and for relevant matters.

2.    The objectives of this MMoU are to:
(a)  Establish the West African Insurance Supervisors Association, with members being - The National Insurance Commission, Ghana, The Central Bank of Liberia, The National Insurance Commission, Nigeria, The Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission,  The Central Bank of The Gambia.
(b)  Facilitate group-wide supervision, entailing in particular, but not limited to, an assessment of the Group’s: (1) financial situation, (2) compliance with the rules on solvency, (3) risk concentration and intra-group transactions, and (4) system of governance. The competent authorities may facilitate the gathering and analysis of available information on risk exposure, solvency and governance of entities in the Group. The competent authorities may assist WAISA in its functions; and may participate in the prudential assessment of systemic risks applicable to the Group.
(c)  Enhance solo supervision of insurance entities by the competent authorities. The solo supervision of insurance entities is the sole responsibility of the relevant competent authority, and each competent authority shall take any measures deemed necessary as regards to the supervision of their respective insurance entities. The gathering and sharing of information, assessments and discussions by the competent authorities is intended to facilitate the exchange of useful information among the competent authorities, thus avoiding the duplication of tasks, in order to allow for more efficient and effective supervision of insurance entities in the Group by each competent authority.
(d)  Provide a permanent forum for cooperation to: (1) build relationships between the members, (2) coordinate supervisory activities and (3) engender greater cohesiveness in cooperation between competent authorities. This MMoU is an on- going mechanism that forms an integral part of the supervision process, contributing to the ongoing protection of policyholders’ interests and fostering better supervision by each of the competent authorities in a financial crisis.
(e)  Foster a better understanding of supervisory practices and more efficient and effective supervision. There are significant differences in the supervisory practices of the various competent authorities, due to the specific features of each local market, which are better understood by the relevant competent authority. As competent authorities work together, they shall gain a greater understanding of the structure and nature of the Group and both solo and group risks.

4.0 Description of the Group and identity of the competent authorities
4.1  Description and structure of the Group
4.2  The Group shall be any parent company which has its registered office in its home country and has subsidiary insurer or subsidiary insurance brokers or branch offices in the countries listed below; (this list is to be updated on a regular basis)
·         Ghana
·         Liberia
·         Nigeria
·         Sierra Leone
·         The Gambia.

4.3  Identity of the competent authorities
1.    This MMoU will take effect among the following competent authorities:
·         National Insurance Commission, Ghana
·         The Central Bank of Liberia
·         National Insurance Commission, Nigeria
·         The Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission
·          The Central Bank of The Gambia

2.    The Chief Executive officer of each competent authority shall be members of the Executive Committee of WAISA. The competent authorities must designate individuals (“contacts”) who shall be members of a Technical Committee of WAISA and will represent each competent authority in the activities described in this MMoU. A list of contacts is in Appendix 1. It will be updated on a regular basis.
5.0  Confidentiality
1      The competent authorities acknowledge that they have made available to each other their own local rules of confidentiality. The competent authorities acknowledge that they have been informed of these local rules, and that they have had the opportunity to check, if necessary, that the rules of confidentiality of the competent authorities are at least equivalent to their own confidentiality obligations.
2      The competent authorities will notify through WAISA; the other competent authorities of any changes in the guarantees of confidentiality applying to the information transmitted which could affect the assessment of the equivalence of these guarantees. Should a competent authority consider that these changes could hinder the application of paragraph 1, they will notify the Secretariat of the WAISA. The Executive Committee of WAISA will endeavour to find an appropriate solution and will reconsider the MMoU in this regard.
3      Further to the confidentiality requirements resulting from national laws and regulations or from any other legal obligations, the competent authorities confirm that any confidential information shared between them shall be used only for the lawful supervision of the Group and its entities. The transmission of information between competent authorities may consider the terms of any existing bilateral and multilateral MoUs on the exchange of information.
4      The competent authorities shall endeavour to maintain the confidentiality of all information received to the extent permitted by their respective laws (“confidential information”). Should a competent authority receive a request or demand for confidential information from any person or entity that is not a competent authority i.e., a third party; such competent authority shall immediately inform the competent authority that supplied the information of such request or demand, and will use all reasonable efforts to obtain the written consent of that competent authority prior to disclosure of the confidential information to the third party. Where such request for consent is denied or has not been answered, the competent authority in possession of the confidential information shall use all lawful means available to it to resist disclosure of the information, and shall afford the competent authority that supplied the confidential information the opportunity to take whatever action it deems appropriate to preserve, protect and maintain the confidential nature of its information. Where the competent authority in possession of the confidential information is legally compelled to provide the information, it shall immediately inform both the competent authority that provided the confidential information, and the secretariat of WAISA, of the disclosure.
5      The competent authorities will endeavour to ensure that all persons dealing with, or having access to, such confidential information are bound by the obligation of confidentiality.

6.0   Responsibilities of the competent authorities
1.    The Executive Committee of WAISA has the role of policy making and governing, coordinating and supervising of the Association. The Executive committee shall determine all what relevant or essential information is required to be gathered from competent authorities, especially those for going concern and emergency situations, including the dissemination of information which is of importance for the solo supervisory tasks of the competent authorities, and authorize such information to be sent to relevant competent authorities.
2.    The competent authorities shall endeavor to contribute to the gathering of information by supplying, to the extent permitted by law, any information that they consider may be relevant to the other competent authorities so as to facilitate supervision of the Group.
3.    The Technical Committee of the WAISA has the role of implementing the policy direction set by the Executive Committee and reporting to the Executive committee on the activities of WAISA and proposing changes to its functioning. The technical committee shall keep all competent authorities informed, in advance, of WAISA meetings and the main issues to be discussed. It shall also inform them of the findings of the meetings and any planned actions.
4.    The activities and findings of WAISA shall not impact in any way on the individual regulatory responsibilities that each competent authority has pursuant to its own national law.

7.0 Cooperation in going concern situations
7.1  WAISA as a Supervisory College
1.    WAISA shall use its meeting to examine and discuss the legal structure of specific Groups and the risks to which they are or might be exposed.
2.    The Technical Committee shall from time to time meet to discuss the technical supervisory issues as it concerns the Group and shall report on their work to a the Executive Committee of WAISA as is necessary.
3.    The WAISA supervisory College meeting may invite members of the relevant banking or securities supervisors to participate in parts of the meeting of the Supervisory College with the proviso that ad hoc arrangements on confidentiality and professional secrecy have been concluded and the terms of which are satisfactory to all competent authorities prior to the meeting.

7.2  Exchange of information among competent authorities
1.    Information shall be centralised and disseminated through WAISA to the relevant competent authorities. However, a competent authority may exchange information bilaterally with another competent authority if it deems it more appropriate or necessary. In such a case, the competent authority shall, to the extent possible, endeavour to keep the WAISA informed of the exchange of information.
2.    The competent authorities may, to the extent permitted by law:
(a)  on request, share with each other relevant information concerning an entity in the Group which may allow or facilitate group supervision,
(b)  on their own initiative, share any information which appears to them to be essential for the other competent authorities.
3.    Where one competent authority receives information from another in response to a specific request, and where WAISA receives information provided without a specific request, the receiving competent authorities and WAISA may disclose that information to other competent authorities subject to the terms of this MMoU. Prior consent to the sharing of information between the competent authorities is not required provided that any condition(s) placed on disclosure by the providing competent authority are communicated to the other competent authorities who, subject to their national laws, must comply with those conditions.
4.    The information that competent authorities may exchange between themselves includes, at the very least: (1) any granting or withdrawal of authorizations/licences, (2) changes in the membership of the board of directors, (3) solvency concerns or problems concerning a member in the Group (including financial problems which could lead to the drafting of financing schemes or the winding-up of an entity of the Group, the declaration of emergency settlements, the freezing of assets), (4) the granting of declarations of no objection or licenses to one of the entities of the Group in order to allow a major acquisition leading to a qualified participation in another insurance or financial entity, (5) other major acquisitions by one of the entities in the Group, and (6) any enforcement action in relation to (one of the) entities of the Group.
5.    Where a competent authority wishes in specific cases to verify important information concerning an insurance entity supervised by another competent authority, it may ask the other competent authority to arrange for the verification. The competent authority that receives such a request should endeavour to act on it, to the extent permitted by law, by: (1) carrying out the verification itself, (2) allowing the requesting competent authority to carry out the verification, or (3) allowing an external auditor or other independent expert to carry out the verification. In any event, the requesting competent authority should, as far as possible, be kept informed of all actions and findings by the responding competent authority. To the extent possible, WAISA should be informed of the requests, actions and findings, and may disclose them to other competent authorities in accordance with the terms of this MMoU.

7.3 The Task sharing, delegation, joint activities, specialised group, joint on-site inspections
1.    Competent authorities may share and delegate tasks to other competent authorities, subject to their mutual consent, and in compliance with the national laws and regulatory requirements applying to each competent authority. Before any delegation of tasks, the planning of the competent authorities involved should be taken into consideration.
2.    Joint activities between competent authorities may be organised on a voluntary basis, in compliance with the local regulatory requirements applying to each involved competent authority.
3.    The Supervisory College may decide to set up working groups comprising a number of competent authorities, working on a voluntary basis, in order to examine specific points of interest.

8.0 Cooperation in emergency situations
8.1  Emergency situations and conflicts of interest
1.    An emergency situation may arise or be identified in relation to either the solo supervision of an insurance entity or the supervision of the Group, and urgent action may be required. The relevant competent authority, i.e. the supervisor responsible for the solo supervision of the insurance entity or for group supervision, shall endeavour to take the appropriate supervisory measures according to its regulatory requirements and national laws. However, because the situation and measures taken may be relevant for all the competent authorities, the competent authority taking the measures shall, to the greatest extent possible, inform the other competent authorities beforehand or at the latest on a timely basis. If necessary, an emergency meeting of the Supervisory College may be arranged in order to provide any information which may assist the relevant competent authority. The secretariat of WAISA may coordinate the management of the emergency situation, encouraging the exchange of information and ensuring cohesion in the decision-making process.
2.    The Supervisory College acknowledges that conflicts of interest may arise between competent authorities, especially in emergency situations.
3.    In order to avoid conflicts of interest between competent authorities as much as possible, and to be well prepared for any action which may be required, the Supervisory College shall analyse any emergency situations that may arise and identify potential conflicts of interests. Furthermore, the Supervisory College shall endeavour to agree on adequate emergency schemes, including cooperation and coordination in these kinds of situation.
8.2 Communication between competent authorities in emergency situations
Whenever an emergency situation arises in an entity of the Group that potentially jeopardises the security and stability of that entity or the Group, it is desirable that the competent authorities inform the Secretariat of WAISA forthwith. The Secretariat of WAISA shall ensure that the information is shared with the other competent authorities as soon as practicable.

9.0  Cooperation in systemic crisis situations
9.1 General aspects of cooperation in systemic crisis situations
1.      The competent authorities are competent to assess whether a systemic crisis situation is likely to affect the Group.
2.      The provisions laid down in chapter 8 apply also in the event of a systemic crisis would affect the Group.
3.      Whenever necessary, and in compliance with their national laws, regulations and requirements, competent authorities should endeavour to cooperate closely with the other relevant authorities (central banks and/or finance ministries, possibly within the framework of cross-border stability groups, if they exist) involved in the crisis management process. Notification of the involvement of any such authority is given to the competent authorities.
9.2 Exchange of Information
1.      Any competent authority that becomes aware of a crisis situation potentially affecting the Group will use its best efforts to inform the Secretariat of WAISA as soon as possible. This information is to be shared with the other competent authorities as soon as possible.
2.      In addition to the on-going exchange of information between competent authorities, it may be appropriate to exchange, to the extent permitted by law, the following information in a crisis situation: affected entities; description of the crisis; the latest information about such entities; the significance of the affected entities; possible impact on the Group and/or the financial market; systemic assessment results; and measures or recovery actions already taken by the Group.
9.3 External Communications
The competent authorities should endeavour to coordinate their external communication of crisis-related information.
10.0   Final Provisions
1      The Supervisory College will make its best efforts to guarantee the security of the information transmitted by implementing secured and quick means of transmission (e.g. through a secured sharing platform).
2      Any competent authority may withdraw from its participation in this MMoU at any time by giving at least 30 days prior notice in writing to the secretariat of WAISA which shall inform all other competent authorities without delay. The retiring competent authorities may continue to cooperate and exchange information according to this MMoU during the 30 days’ notice period until its actual retirement date. Retirement by a competent authority will not in any way affect:
-       the rights or obligations of any competent authority with respect to confidential information previously received or provided under this MMoU;
-       any privileges associated with such information.
3      The competent authorities should revise and update this MMoU when necessary to appropriately reflect major changes in the overall structure of the Group and the risks taken, changes to the laws governing any of the competent authorities (including organization changes of supervisory authorities or creation of new authorities) or changes to their cooperation procedures.
4      Any amendment to this MMoU requires the consent of all Supervisory College members and shall be done in writing.
5      Before a new competent authority joins the Supervisory College, the agreement of all the competent authorities is necessary. The applicant must agree with the terms of the MMoU and provide its confidentiality rules in order to comply with paragraph 5. If all competent authorities agree, the MMoU will be amended and signed by all members including the new competent authority.
6      This MMoU will come into force between competent authorities from the date each member signs.

For the Authorities:

Signature & Date
Represented By
National Insurance Commission Ghana
Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission
National Insurance Commission Nigeria

Central Bank of Liberia
The Central Bank of the Gambia



National Insurance Commission, Ghana
Miss Lydia Lariba Bawa
Commissioner of Insurance
Central Bank of Liberia
Dr. J. Mills Jones
National Insurance Commission, Nigeria
Mr. Mohammed Kari
Commissioner for Insurance
Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission
Mr. Augustus A. Kanu
Commissioner of Insurance
Central Bank of The Gambia
Mr. Pa Alieu Sillah
Commissioner of Insurance

National Insurance Commission, Ghana
Mrs. Emma Ocran
Director, Legal Service
Central Bank of Liberia
Mr. Mathew Innis
Assistant Director, Insurance
National Insurance Commission, Nigeria
Mr. Babajide Oniwinde
Deputy Director, Corporate Strategy
Sierra-Leone Insurance Commission
Dr. Abdul K. Bangura
Director, Finance
Central Bank of The Gambia
Mr. Saikou Touray
Deputy Director, Insurance Supervision

No comments: