Central Bank cancels license of insurance firm

The Central Bank of Samoa (C.B.S.) has advised of the closure of Sterling Investors Life Insurance as it is in the process of cancelling its license.

The insurance firm’s creditors have been invited to submit supporting documents in order to be reimbursed with their current credits, though the C.B.S. stated in a media release that the reimbursement to creditors will only cover a six-month period from January 22, 2020 to July 21, 2020.

The C.B.S. Governor and Insurance Commissioner, Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari, used her powers under the Insurance Act 2007 to cancel the firm’s license.

"The Insurance Commissioner advises the public that the insurance licence of the above-named company is now in the process of cancellation, which is in accordance with section 71 of the Insurance Act 2007,” stated the media release.

"The reimbursement process will only cover a six (6) months periods from 22/01/2020 to 21/07/2020. There will be no reimbursements permitted after the prescribed period, as the licence will be cancelled immediately, and all remaining funds of the said company will be transferred to a secured account."

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to get comments from Sterling Investors was not successful as it does not have a local address. The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.)-run online business registry also lacked entries for the company in question.

Questions sent through email to the Governor’s office on Wednesday, querying the reasons behind the cancellation of its license, did not get responded to at the time of going to press.

However, C.B.S. officers referred this newspaper to a local law firm that they said previously represented the insurance firm. 

But when contacted by this newspaper, a staff member of the law firm responded: "We do not represent Sterling Investors. However, I understand that they are an American company that ceased doing business here some years ago. "

According to Section 71 of the Insurance Act 2007, the Insurance Commissioner may cancel the licence held by an insurer, if requested to do so in writing by its principal officer, and if the Insurance Commissioner is satisfied that the insurer has no liabilities in respect of its insurance business.

The Insurance Commissioner can also, by notice in writing, cancel the license of an insurer if the insurer fails to commence its business within 6 months of the issue of its licence; or if the Insurance Commissioner is satisfied that an insurer has not during the preceding 12 months carried on insurance business in Samoa or elsewhere, and has not had, during that period, liabilities in respect of its insurance business; or if the insurer goes into liquidation, commences to be wound up, or is otherwise dissolved.

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