One of the most repercussive reforms after the Insurance Authority took over the supervision of the insurance industry is the change of the minimum academic qualification requirement from Secondary school form 5 level to passing 5 subjects in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) / Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), which must include Chinese + Mathematics or English + Mathematics. However, there is an exemption for this requirement – insurance intermediaries who have already been in the insurance industry before the IA took over, can be exempted from the minimum academic requirements. If one has working experience in Hong Kong’s insurance industry prior to September 23, 2019, he/she can be exempted from the minimum academic qualification.
How can technical representatives get exempted from the academic requirements?
The following two conditions must be met at the same time:
(1) Successfully applied for a license before September 23, 2019;
(2) If you have resigned before September 23, 2019, and the license has expired for not more than 2 years, you can be exempted from academic requirements and are able to re-apply for a license. If you have resigned for more than 2 years and have not re-applied for a license afterwards, you need to re-apply in compliance with the new regulations.
How can Responsible Officers get exempted from the academic requirements?
Under the new regulations, the minimum education required for Responsible Officers is a bachelor’s degree. However, despite possessing extensive experience, some senior practitioners in the insurance industry may not necessarily have a university degree. Hence, solely judging professional competence based on academic qualifications may be too harsh. Therefore, IA also leaves an opportunity for Responsible Officers to obtain an exemption for the academic requirements.
If you want to get exemption from the new requirements, you must meet the following two conditions at the same time:
(1) Have been engaged in insurance related work for at least 15 years prior to September 23, 2019;
(2) The suspension of the license during the 15 years mentioned above should not exceed 2 years
What counts as insurance-related work experience
Some students will ask us what the IA means by insurance-related work experience because their academic qualifications do not meet the requirements. Some might question how a person can gain industry experience without a license. In fact, in addition to sales of insurance policies and handling of insurance sales, IA also recognises other types of industry experience (such as research, underwriting and compliance) as relevant experience. Note, however, that insurance experience outside of Hong Kong will not be considered.
Since the newly-added academic requirements of the IA have not been launched long, the staff of the IA doesn’t have many precedents to gain reference to, hence they will avoid answering questions that are too in-depth. If you need a more specific answer, you can try to send an email consisting of your CV (detailed description of your employer, job title, job description, customer groups you have been in contact with, etc.) to the IA Licensing Department. However, before applying for a license, the staff of the IA will not give you a final answer, hence you may need to submit all the documents for the IA to gain reference to in the process of applying for a license before they can give you an exact answer.
Contact method of IA Licensing Division:
|Insurance Authority (IA)
38999983 After dialing, select the language, then press 3, then press 2
19th Floor, 41 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang (MTR Wong Chuk Hang exit B)
When applying for a license, you also need to describe in text how your work experience is related to the insurance industry, which will be reviewed by the case officer of the Insurance Authority and manually decide whether or not your application is approved (because the fit and proper guidelines are relatively vague, it leaves a lot of wiggle room for staff judge according to each individual case, which makes the process is very subjective).
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