Sedgwick confident of approval as suspension period expires
SHEEL KOHLI in London
Sedgwick Insurance and Risk Management Consultants (China), the only foreign insurance brokerage permitted to conduct business in the mainland, is still awaiting permission to resume operations after a three-month suspension expired last month.
The company, owned by the world's largest insurance brokerage, Marsh & McLennan, of the United States, was told to halt operations in May after the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said the firm had been conducting unauthorised activities.
'The issues have been attended to and we have been re-audited, which is part of the process. We are now waiting for the outcome,' said Terry Paradine, Marsh & McLennan's Asian operations head.
Sedgwick was said to have been operating an unlicensed business, having a 'serious' shortage of registered capital, and making two changes of location without approval.
Three of its managers were also said to lack the proper qualifications.
Its suspension came soon after the commission was created to handle all aspects of the mainland's insurance industry regulation, taking the responsibility over from the People's Bank of China.
It is thought the commission had also found Sedgwick's unique position as inconsistent with its desire to create a level playing field.
Sedgwick had been allowed to take fees for insurance consulting and management services, and to provide limited re-insurance services for mainland companies.
The commission has since let a domestic brokerage, Huatai Insurance Service & Consultants, provide claim-settlement consultancy services but not to act as a broker.
Mr Paradine said he expected Sedgwick would be permitted to resume operations soon and he did not believe the commission would limit its activities.
'Our dealings have been totally professional and routine, as you would expect when dealing with any regulator,' he said. 'I don't think we are going to get any surprises.' INSURANCE