Laundering crackdown on insurance brokers

 
1,043Views 5Comments Posted 09/09/2017

THE LICENSES of 745 Panama insurance brokers have been suspended for failing to comply with a law governing money laundering.

The Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance has suspended the licenses to sell and renew policies or collect commissions

for noncompliance with Law 23 of 2015 under which  insurers and insurance brokers are required to report transactions in cash and suspicious transactions. To do so, they must register with the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF online)).

Superintendent José Joaquín Riesen said that they were issued circulars warning of the obligation to register on the UAF online portal. On May 10 , the regulator granted a deadline up to July 31 to comply.

Since the law came into force two years ago, some 950 licenses have been suspended. The suspension is for a period of three months extendable another similar period. If at that time they have not complied), the licenses are canceled.

Riesen said that this is a drastic measure, but noted that "we must enforce the rules that we adopted as a country. "

Law 23  identifies the professions that must report suspicious transactions in financial activities. The insurance sector has the largest number of obligated people (2,400).

In February 2016, after approving the package of measures to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, Panama left the gray list of the Action Group which it had entered 2014 due to the weakness of its legal framework to combat the crime.

This year, the Latin American arm of the Financial Action Task Force is making a new evaluation, which included a visit to Panama in May to gauge the effectiveness of the new rules.



Comments 5

user
mhogan

I've been mulling over this for some time and I see a flaw in the process: I think the term " money laundering" is getting to be as much nonsense as "racist". I'm not in favor of unscrupulous transactions involved in terrorist financing or drugs or politicos hiding their ill-gotten gains; of course they should be sanctioned and stopped. But I also know many honest Americans who cannot open a bank account (which is almost a necessity for living in today's world) because of "regulations" or perceived irregularities. They buy a car in Panama and/or a house and, of course, insure it. Hard to do with no bank account here so their friendly insurance agent "helps" them out. The money is honestly earned, no nefarious dealings -- so, is that "laundering" or survival? Antime anything is fine-tuned down to the nth, the system will fail, imo

4 years ago
user
james fry

The clean insurance check just OPENS the account without question of it's origin. After that there's no further need for the insurance agent. Cash can be deposited at any ATM. Quote FROM CHASE BANK WEB SITE: "There's no need for envelopes or deposit slips and even stacks of checks or bills can be deposited with ease. Simply insert your checks or cash into the machine; we can even print an image of the check on your receipt. It's a convenient way to make secure deposits into your Chase account through an ATM."

4 years ago
user
mhogan

Well, that seems really inefficient and a stretch to see why a money-launderer would go this route. I mean, how much can you go through in a policy -- $1,000, or $2,000 max? I think it's a "regulation" ploy of the insurance industry under the guise of money laundering.

4 years ago
user
james fry

Drug dealer pays broker $100 premium in dirty cash for policy. Insurance company issues policy and charges broker's account $90 ($10 commission). Dealer cancels policy & gets $80 refund. Broker returns partial commission. All legit so far. Drug dealer slips broker $10 cash, walks into Banco Whatever and deposits $70 check from Highly Respected Insurance, LTD. Voila! Cash of inexplicable origin now check with no need for explanation. Only Switzerland and Panama have more bank accounts than people. Why dat?

4 years ago
user
mhogan

How do we find out if an insurance broker one uses has lost his license? Color me dumb, but just how does a "broker" participate in money laundering? They sell a policy and get paid. Sounds like a normal business to me.

4 years ago
The comments are the responsibility of each author who freely expresses his opinion and not that of Newsroom Panama.
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