The Central Bank of the UAE's licensing function plays a fundamental role as a gatekeeper for the industry, as it sets the minimum standards for market entry and changes.
The authority for issuing the licensing Policy stems from the Central Bank Law. Under this Law, CBUAE is responsible for the licensing, governing and supervision of financial institutions in the United Arab Emirates. Official application forms and the requested supporting documents from applicants, shall be submitted to the Licensing Division.
CBUAE Register Insurance Entities
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The licensing division aims to provide a consistent, transparent and efficient approach that meets the following guiding principles:
Applying for a License
If you are a bank, finance or an insurance company looking to apply for a licence, kindly contact:
Types of Licences
Firms and individuals must apply to the CBUAE for authorisation to carry out any of the activities that it regulates. Banks looking to register their operations with the CBUAE can apply for a licence through our online platform.
Obtaining Insurance Licenses Fees
The following document includes the fees imposed by the CBUAE for obtaining insurance licenses.Download Insurance Service Fees
Pre- Phase One Requirements
New applicants and unlicensed companies can contact the CBUAE with licensing enquiries on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the Phase One Requirements
The CBUAE may provide new applicants with ‘in-principle’ approval, if the application fulfils the necessary requirements. Before the application is considered successful, applicants must complete the requirements outlined in the CBUAE’s ‘in-principle’ approval letter within one year of the letter being issued.
Phase Two requirements and additional information
An ‘in-principle’ approval cannot be considered the final authorisation of the application. Financial institutions cannot practice activities that are subject to the CBUAE supervision until they have obtained their licence from the application. The CBUAE is not required to issue the licence if the application does not meet the necessary conditions, even after having issued an ‘in-principle’ approval. After applicants fulfil their Phase Two requirements, the CBUAE will issue the appropriate licence to the applicant. The CBUAE will also state any conditions or requirements that the licensee must fulfil.
General Licensing Enquiries
Insurance is a process whereby a party called “the Insurer” undertakes to another party called “The insurance company”, against a premium payable by the latter, that “the Insurer” shall compensate “The insurance company” for the loss that “the Insured” may incur when a risk is realised.
- The insurance contract: is a contract under which the insurance company commits to pay to the Insured or the named beneficiary a sum of money, income salary or other financial indemnity in the event of an accident or the Insured risk is realised, in return for premiums or other financial payments to be made by the Insured to the insurance company.
- The policy: is the insurance document that proves the insurance contract.
A premium is a sum of money which the insured is committed to pay in a single payment, or successive payments, to the Insurer in return for the latter's commitment to assume liability for the named risks insured.
A premium, in insurance terms, is a key element and an obligation for the Insured, that is incorporated into the contract, which makes the insurance contract commutative. The premium is as important as the risk — there is no insurance without risk and no insurance without premium. The instalment is legally the reason for the Insurer's obligation to insure the risk, and technically Insurers depend on instalments to settle disaster claims.
The portion of a loss borne by the Insured if the risk occurs.
- Provides peace of mind.
- Provides economic protection for members of the community.
- Protects the national economy.
- Creates a financially-solvent party capable of tolerating the risk, which is offset by potential compensation.
- Insurance of human lives, including life insurance, health insurance and fund accumulation operations.
- Property insurance, including motor insurance, fire insurance, marine insurance and more.
- Liability insurance, including Third Party Liability for vehicles, personal accident insurance, employer liability insurance, insurance of trains, insurance of cash and more.
- Traditional Insurance: is often practised by public shareholding companies, established by shareholders’ capital, who seek to make a profit on the company’s operations. The insurance premiums which they collect are always fixed premiums. The company’s aggregate assets represent a guarantee for the rights of policyholders.
- Co-operative Insurance: is practiced by mutual insurance associations (or associations of mutual form), where the association’s members identify the risks that they face and collect contributions. There are primarily non-profit associations without capital, with their members acting as the insurer and the insured at the same time. These entities have become a strong competitor to insurance companies.
- Takaful (Islamic insurance): Companies engaged in this type of insurance are hybrid entities:
- A (joint stock) company with shareholders established with the aim of making profit
- Those who are Insured (participants) who pay contributions to from the participants’ fund.
The participants’ fund pays compensation owed to the participants and in the case of insufficient money in the fund, the shareholders’ fund is supposed to provide a Qard Hasan (i.e. interest-free loan) to the participants’ fund, to be refunded from any surplus that the participants’ fund may realise in the future.
In cases where a surplus is realised, it should be distributed to the participants, or credited to their accounts to pay future contributions. The relationship between the participants and the Takaful company is based either on Wakala, or Wakala and Mudaraba together.
The insurance function of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE - formerly the Insurance Authority, or IA) issued Takaful Insurance regulations in 2010, setting a precedent in the Arab world with one of the most comprehensive systems of Islamic insurance.
The regulations contain some rules designed to regulate the work of Takaful insurance companies. They include the following:
- All insurance and investment transactions by the company must be compliant with the provisions of Islamic Shari’ah.
- Risk management operations and investment business shall be conducted by the company on Wakala terms, or Wakala and Mudaraba together.
- Family Takaful Insurance and General Insurance may not be combined in one Takaful insurance company.
- Existing companies currently engaged in both types have a specific deadline to adjust their positions. The membership subscription document is separated from the Takaful policy.
- The company (i.e., the shareholders fund) is committed to provide a Qard Hasan (i.e., interest-free loan) to the participants’ fund in case of a deficit in the fund’s assets.
- The maximum amount of Qard Hasan is the sum of shareholders’ equity.
- The amount of Wakala fees, how they are calculated, and the company's share of Mudaraba must be stated in advance.
- A Shari’ah Supervisory Committee must be formed in each Takaful insurance company.
- The Supreme Committee for Fatwa and Shari’ah Oversight was formed within the Insurance Authority before it merged with the CBUAE.
- Each company must appoint a Shari’ah Controller within it.
- The participants may be invited to attend the general assembly of shareholders’ meetings, and have the right to debate matters, even if they do not have the right to vote.
The process where an insurance company bears the risk already borne by another company, in exchange for a premium paid by the company that originally held the risk. This is called the reinsurance premium. The Insured’s legal rights are not affected by reinsurance, and the insurance company, which originally issued the insurance contract, shall remain liable for all benefits and issues arising under the insurance contract.
Regulations stipulate that the minimum capital for an insurance company operating in the UAE is AED 100 million. However, the capital of a reinsurance company operating in the UAE must be AED 250 million.
All insurance companies operating in the UAE, both foreign and domestic, must adhere to the minimum capital requirement of AED 100 million required for insurance companies. However, the minimum capital for a foreign insurance company will be required from a company licensed to operate within the UAE, and not from the branch.
Insurance policies offsetting the risk of developing the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, include health insurance policies, travel insurance policies, labour insurance policies and life insurance policies.
In software development, sandbox is a term commonly used to describe an isolated testing environment for new apps or programmes.
Similarly, a regulatory sandbox is a framework set up by a financial sector regulator to allow small scale, live testing of innovations by private firms in a controlled environment.
- Innovative Solutions Owners licensed and registered by the CBUAE, that wish to test technical solutions covered by their current licence
- Innovative Solutions Owners licensed and registered by the CBUAE, that wish to test technical solutions not covered by their current licence
- FinTech Companies registered in the UAE’s Free Zones and Financial Free Zones, which develop new FinTech solutions to be used in the country
- National FinTech companies and branches of foreign companies registered inside the UAE, which develop new FinTech solutions to be used in the country
- Foreign FinTech Companies registered in their home country, that develop new FinTech solutions to be used in the UAE.
The product, service, software or business model (innovation) shall meet the following criteria:
- Be related to insurance products and / or services that fall under the jurisdiction and supervision of the CBUAE’s insurance department
- Be innovative in terms of the technology used
- Prove the technology’s benefit to insurance proposers, for example promoting growth, efficiency, risk management and providing wider options
- Have a need to be tested in the experimental environment.
Last updated on: Thursday 16 November 2023
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