Gibraltar: The European Insurance Centre

Last Updated: 10 August 1998
Click Contact Link



Gibraltar is a leading insurance domicile because it is the ONLY location that offers ALL of the following:


Gibraltar licensed insurers are able to insure risks directly or set up a branch in EEA states


Gibraltar has implemented all the EEA Directives relating to insurance business. Its regulations and levels of supervision match UK standards, making Gibraltar probably the best regulated offshore centre for insurance business.


Gibraltar insurance companies may choose between "exempt company" status (fixed annual tax of £225) and "qualifying company" status (0% to 35%).

There are also tax advantages for certain expatriate specialists working in the insurance sector in Gibraltar.


Gibraltar is exempt from the EEA requirement to levy VAT, enabling a service operation, whose charges would normally be chargeable to VAT in another territory, to gain a competitive advantage in price.

Infrastructure - High Quality, Low Cost And Flexible

  • UK educated and qualified workforce
  • salary and rental costs lower than any other European offshore centre
  • no job quotas or work permit restrictions.


As well as direct insurance companies, who will be able to take advantage of the single market in insurance, Gibraltar provides an attractive environment for:

  • Captive insurance companies
  • Re-insurance companies
  • International insurers setting up a base from which to access the EEA market
  • Insurance services companies establishing a European offshore cross-boarder base e.g.:

          * international insurance brokers
          * claims managers
          * loss adjusters
          * companies wishing to re-domicile.


Companies already established in another jurisdiction wishing to take advantage of Gibraltar's unique regime for insurance business have the relatively simple option to re-domicile to Gibraltar. In other words, simply "moving" their operations in their entirety to Gibraltar without having to close down their existing operation and set up afresh in Gibraltar.

Once a re-domiciled company obtains its licence and registers in Gibraltar it becomes a Gibraltar company.

Countries from which insurance companies can re-domicile to Gibraltar include:

  • all EEA member states
  • British Dependent Territories (including Bermuda and the Cayman Islands)
  • British Commonwealth countries (including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man)
  • Switzerland.



  • a sound business plan (including satisfactory reinsurance arrangements) and adequate financial resources to support it
  • fit and proper people at all levels
  • management with adequate experience of the business which is to be underwritten
  • appropriate systems of control.


Applications are made to the Commissioner of Insurance on one of the forms set out in the Insurance Companies (Prescribed Particulars) Regulations, which contains questions as to shareholding structure, controllers of the company, financial resources, business plan and reinsurance arrangements. An application fee of £500 is payable.


Every licensed insurer which has its Head Office in Gibraltar must, at all times, maintain free assets to cover a required minimum margin in respect of its entire business. This will be the greater of either the solvency margin as calculated, or the Minimum Guarantee Fund as laid down in the legislation.

In general terms the solvency margin for general business is either 18% of the annual amount of premiums (premium basis) or 26% of the average amount of claims for the previous 3 years (claims basis).

The minimum guarantee fund varies according to the type and class of insurance business for which authorisation is sought. For general business this ranges from 200,000 to 400,000 ECU's.


No minimum share capital is specified in the legislation - the level will be dictated by solvency margin requirements.


There is no requirement to hold assets in Gibraltar.

There is no requirement for the investment managers to be based in Gibraltar.


Any insurer not wishing to have its own local management presence can avail itself of indigenous insurance company management facilities.

Insurance company management is licensed by the FSC, and is a well-established and growing professional discipline in Gibraltar.


The annual licence fee is £2,000.


The Insurance Companies Ordinance 1987 and supporting Regulations.

Double Taxation Treaties - None.

Supervisory Authority

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission.

Registration And Incorporation Fee

  • Annual Filing Fee of £26.
  • Application Fee £500.
  • Annual Fee £2000.

Investment Restrictions

Admissibility limits based on UK practice.


Minimum of £1,000 at incorporation. Minimum Guarantee Fund to be in accordance with EU requirements;

  • Life Business ECU800,000
  • Non-Life ECU200,000 to ECU400,000 according to classes undertaken.

Local Taxes

3 Options available:

  • Nil tax subject to payment of £225 Exempt Company Fee;
  • 0% to 35% for qualifying company;
  • Full local Corporation tax 35%

Local Office Requirements

  • Minimum of one shareholder.
  • Minimum of three directors.

Minimum Solvency Margin

18% of net premium or 26% of average annual claims (after 3 years) multiplied by the ratio of claims net of reinsurance to gross claims (min 50%)

Reporting Requirements

Annual audited accounts to be submitted within six months of the year end together with a copy of the Actuary's Report and statutory.


Set-Up/First Year Costs

Legal Costs for incorporation of company
(including tax application)                      £500 - £1,000

Qualifying Company:
tax deposit                                      £1,000
application                                      £250

Exempt Company:
first year tax                                   £225
application fee                                  nil

Stamp Duty on capital
(discretionary maximum £5,000)                   0.5%

Insurance Licence application fee                £500

Insurance licence first year annual fee          £2,000

First year management fees*                      minimum £25,000

Ongoing Annual Costs

Qualifying Company tax                           0% to 35%

Exempt Company annual tax                        £225

Insurance licence annual fee                     £2,000

Annual management fees                           minimum £25,000

5 Annual Directors' fees (if required)           £3,000 - £7,000



All Community law relating to insurance is in place in Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Government has passed into its laws the Life and Non-Life Insurance Directives and ancillary legislation.

The conduct of insurance business in Gibraltar is regulated by the Insurance Companies Ordinance 1987 and its subsidiary legislation. The framework it lays down implements the Life and Non-Life Insurance Directives and fully matches UK standards in EEA non-life and life insurance directives.

The 1989 Financial Services Ordinance allows for regulation of "investment business" and "controlled activities" by the Financial Services Commission, which includes insurance company managers and insurance brokers.


Greater emphasis is placed on overall financial supervision and fitness matters.

The regulatory regime governing insurance business in Gibraltar concentrates mainly on ensuring that insurance companies:

  • Are licenced to carry on an insurance business
  • Have fit and proper controllers, directors and managers
  • Are soundly and prudently run, with appropriate systems
  • Have sufficient resources to cover their liabilities to policy-holders, including a margin of solvency
  • Provide annual financial information to the regulator
  • Are sufficiently open in the information they provide publicly to enable policyholders, with help from their financial advisers, to form a reliable view of their financial strength, and to know who controls the company
  • Maintain a prudent spread of appropriate investments.


The Financial Services Commission is a statutory body corporate established by the Financial Services Commission Ordinance 1989. It consists of the Commissioner, as Chairman and seven other persons, four of whom shall have relevant experience in the United Kingdom and three of whom shall have relevant experience in Gibraltar. The Commissioner is appointed by the Governor, acting with the approval of the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, and the other members are appointed by the Governor, acting with the approval of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, after consulting with the Commissioner.

As mentioned above the Financial Services Commission ("FSC") is the body in Gibraltar that regulates the establishment and ongoing activities of insurance companies, and indeed all organisations within the Gibraltar finance sector. This includes insurance company managers, as well as non-insurance related activities such as banking, investment advisors and company managers, to name but three.

The FSC is presided over by the Commissioner, John Millner, who also carries the title Commissioner of Insurance and has the ultimate responsibility for authorising and supervising insurance companies in Gibraltar, and for applying any discretionary powers provided in the legislation.

The Insurance Supervisor, Jim Costin, has day-to-day responsibility for licensing, supervision and regulation of insurance companies, and provides support to the Commissioner on these matters, together with those relating to the licensing and supervision of insurance company managers.

The Assistant Insurance Supervisor, Norman Ritchie, has been responsible for the Financial Services Commission's detailed input into the legislation giving effect to the insurance directives. He also has special responsibility for the scrutiny of Insurer's accounts and returns.


Financial Services Commission
PO Box 940

Tel No:  + 350 40283
Fax No:  + 350 40282
Web Site:  Click Contact Link 


Anthony Fisher

Finance Centre Development Director
Department of Trade & Industry
Government of Gibraltar
Suite 771, Europort

Tel No: + 350 50011
Fax No: + 350 47677
E-mail:  Click Contact Link 

Website:  Click Contact Link 

You may also wish to read through related material on business and finance in Gibraltar provided by the Gibraltar Finance Centre.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions