Treasury secretary Henry Rotich has exempted the local subsidiary of German-based insurance conglomerate Allianz from provisions of the law requiring foreign underwriters to have at least one-third of their stake held by investors from East African partner states.
Allianz, which opened a Kenyan office in November 2016, is a fully owned subsidiary of Munich-based Allianz SE, one of the largest insurance firms in the world.
Mr Rotich has also allowed the insurance firm to appoint expatriate directors who number more than the one-third limit which is prescribed in the law as well as have limitless number of foreigners on its board.
“The cabinet secretary for the Treasury exempts Allianz Insurance Company Kenya Limited from the provisions of sections 22, 23 (4) and 27 of the Act in respect of shareholding and directorship,” Mr Rotich states in the gazette notice.
Kenyan laws have been revised recently to protect national and regional interests by limiting foreign ownership of companies.
The law also limits individual ownership to a maximum of 25 per cent stake and gives the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) powers to monitor activities of shareholders controlling more than 10 per cent.
Individuals found to be at fault can be forced to sell their stake. Allianz has also been exempted from this rule.
“A person…shall not be registered or shall not have his registration renewed…if registered shall have his registration cancelled, if at least one third of the members of his board of directors or managing board are not citizens of Kenya,” the Insurance Act states.