The Committee unanimously adopted the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill with some technical amendments.
The Chair complimented Mr Jonathan Dixon, Head: Insurance, Financial Services Board who, he conceded, was young but a master of his subject and in the Chair’s view certainly set yesterday’s meeting right on both the chronological and legal aspects of the Bill and its presentation to the public. The Chair conceded that yesterday he had felt intimidated by the appearance before the Committee of an Advocate from the Johannesburg Bar but he felt it important that all concerned with the Medical Schemes and Short Term Insurance Industries, either directly or indirectly, talk and engage, especially when conceptualizing their different approaches to legislation, even if it was necessary to drag people kicking along to engage. He added that all concerned were present.
Technical Amendments to Insurance Laws Amendment Bill
Ms Jo-Anne Ferreira, Head: Legal Services National Treasury, apologized for having to leave yesterday’s meeting but reiterated that in her view the Courts had correctly pronounced upon, and set out, the principle of retrospectivity in such legislation. She emphasised that the Bill intended that the sellers of products would not be able to sell new, and more products but the Bill did not affect the contracts already in existence. She further apologized for the fact that in the production process, certain typographical errors had crept into the Bill as published and she handed out a document in which the typographical errors were rectified. She went through the document drawing the attention of those present to the intended corrections.
Mr Sogoni (ANC) asked if this Bill became law, there would be more or fewer products sold. He was concerned about the unintended consequences to both Bills and legislation and pondered whether this Bill would affect existing product already sold on the market.
Ms Ferreira assured the members that in so far as she could determine there would be no unintended consequences to this Bill; and that the Medical Schemes legislation did not fall under this Bill.
Mr Sogoni then added that yesterday the Committee had heard that the intermediaries did not play the role as envisaged by the Committee and himself. He accepted Mr Dixon’s assurance that their role would be assessed so as to ensure the Bill would not have a negative impact.
Directing himself to Mr Dixon the Chair requested confirmation.
In response, Mr Dixon confirmed the noting of the comments. In the light of all the representations and the need for necessary changes discovered by the Department of their own accord, the draft regulations would be drawn up over the forthcoming six months. They would then be referred for comment to those who had made submissions. The regulations would be drawn up and also referred back to those interested parties for any further comment. Thereafter the regulations would be finalised.
Mr Z Kolweni (ANC) reminded all concerned that some time back, the National Treasury had engaged with the Finance Select Committee which process had brought forth objections.
The Chair in summary said that the previous day’s meeting and process had been intended to clarify the issues and the details which would be required in the envisaged or intended regulations. He felt that when the regulations were prepared, they might be facing the same questions again. He reiterated that, consistent with achieving legislation, it was the intention to keep all stakeholders happy with the eventual result. He felt that all those who had made representations the previous day, including Day 1 Health, were now happy. He added that this was a critical process and he felt that a note should be made of all the submissions made, in an effort to determine that there were no duplications. Then having assured themselves that the intended powers were carried out, they could proceed. As no contrary views were expressed, he suggested that they proceed.
Mr Sogoni agreed
Ms Ferreira then went through the proposed technical amendments to correct the typographical errors.
Adoption of the Bill
The Bill with these amendments was adopted unanimously.
The Chair suggested that any member who was not otherwise engaged might, with profit, attend the meeting on the Draft Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Bill. He added that he felt that the legal representatives of the FSB would be going from the fridge to the fire at such meeting.
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