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Belize Insurance

Insurance Regulations and Consumer Rights in Belize

Discover 129 knowledge elements applicable to insurance compliance in Belize through FAQ-style analyses of FAQs on insurance compliance issues. Gain an understanding of its regulatory environment and taxation structures governing the establishment and operation of insurance entities.

Foreign investors in Belize must adhere to regulatory requirements set out by the Central Bank regarding investment and capital flows, while government incentives may be granted based on socioeconomic contributions made through investments.

Legal Framework

Belize’s legal framework governing insurance is composed of various laws. These regulations cover insurance companies, agents, brokers and individuals as well as sales and purchases of policies in Belize. Furthermore, violations can incur fines up to imprisonment depending on severity. Furthermore, laws establish the responsibilities of the Belize Bureau of Standards which promote and implement standards across goods, services and processes in Belize.

Belize’s financial sector is relatively modest by international standards and represents only a minor share of GDP. The Belize Central Bank regulates domestic banks and credit unions. The Deposit Insurance Act of 2020 (DIA), passed in 2019, provides legal protection for deposits held at domestic banks through initial contributions by both the Central Bank and depositors of domestic banks and credit unions, plus annual premium payments by fund members.

While the Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) is an important step forward, there remain significant reservations regarding its effectiveness. Notably, consumers could become confused over what constitutes “deposit insurance,” while there remain issues surrounding its ability to manage risk from large-scale deposits by international financial institutions.

Though these concerns exist, the DIA remains an important step towards strengthening Belize’s rule of law and increasing consumer trust and protecting property rights protections. Belize’s government has made progress in these areas by creating a property transaction tax and digitalizing the land registry, among other initiatives.

An important feature of the new law is a switch from rules-based regulation to risk-based oversight, enabling the Bank of International Affairs (BIA) to focus on risk rather than individual transactions while aligning its regulations with international standards.

The new law also includes microinsurance, which will help fill protection gaps for low-income households. The Bank of International Affairs hopes to launch this innovative initiative by 2023; implementation will require collaboration among non-governmental organizations, communities, and consumers themselves.


Belize’s insurance industry is governed by several laws and regulations, such as the Financial Institutions Act, Insurance Supervision Act, and Insurance Regulations. These acts cover topics including minimum capital requirements by insurers, amount of reserves/assets they must hold, types of accounts they may open up as well as licensing system for managing financial institutions.

Belize’s economy is small, and financial sector assets constitute only a relatively minor component. According to figures for 2002, total financial sector assets amounted to an estimated US$776 million; majority held by domestic banks while international institutions played an additional role.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Belize initiated various legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives to modernize its financial framework. These changes included adopting recommendations of both the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and IAIS Insurance Core Principles.

Insurance products and services in Belize are subject to various taxes and fees that must be paid, including:

Insurance regulation in Belize is overseen by the Belize Bank Supervisory Authority (BBSA), an independent body regulated by the Central Bank of Belize that serves both to monitor financial system operations as well as issue licenses to insurers and reinsurance companies.

BBSA employs a risk-based approach to supervision, in which its supervisory body measures quality of an insurer’s underwriting activities rather than simply compliance with rules. Furthermore, the BBSA is taking part in an initiative to create comprehensive standards across various industries including banking and finance; agriculture; food; transport manufacturing tourism industries.

The Belize Banking Services Association (BBSA) has unveiled a draft Code of Conduct which is due for formal approval in October 2005. It seeks to promote good governance and integrity in Belizean financial services industry through provisions regarding customer service, conflict of interests, fair treatment and anti-money laundering as well as registration requirements for individuals and businesses operating within it.


The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is currently undertaking efforts to upgrade Belize’s standards system and assist consumers in their ability to identify quality goods, services and treatment as well as accessing recourse when issues arise. Underwriters Laboratories is supporting this endeavor while an MOU was recently signed between BBS and International Organization for Standardization to facilitate cooperation in creating, updating and promoting internationally accepted standards.

Consumers in Belize face one of the greatest issues related to quality goods: an absence of product standards that increases spending dollars while diminishing trust in local products purchased for use within their community. Therefore, efforts directed at consumer protection must focus on raising standards regarding product quality and labeling standards.

Consumers need to be able to assert their rights and report problems to the CAU in order to be protected and get justice. Unfortunately, documentation of consumer complaints to the CAU remains low, which indicates a general lack of assertiveness on behalf of consumers – something which may be remedied through increased education efforts.

Belize consumers can access healthcare services from both public and private providers; however, medical procedures in Belize tend to be expensive, and coverage may be limited for expats and global citizens living outside Belize. Therefore, it is advisable for them to secure comprehensive international health insurance before visiting Belize.

Belize’s deposit insurance system is governed by the Deposit Insurance Act (DIA), which offers legal protection to deposits held in domestic banks and credit unions. Funded through initial contributions from Central Bank of Belize as well as annual premium payments by deposit insurance fund members such as domestic banks and credit unions, this legislation aims to safeguard people’s savings, promote financial stability and treat depositors fairly and equitably – it’s therefore critical that Belize strives towards ensuring the success of their deposit insurance system.

Protection of Policyholders

Belize’s financial system is relatively modest by international standards and does not make up a significant share of the national economy. Assets are distributed among domestic and international commercial banks, building societies and credit unions, providers of international business services and the Development Finance Corporation owned by the government. Belize is a member of both the International Monetary Fund and World Bank with minimal external debt obligations; furthermore, it has affiliations with Caribbean Association of Insurance Regulators as well as Central American Financial System.

Belize is an attractive offshore investment destination, particularly those involving foreign direct investment and pension funds. Its tax regime is flexible, with lower capital gains and corporate income taxes than comparable countries in its region. Meanwhile, its government is actively working towards becoming an international center of financial services by developing policy initiatives to regulate issues like the insurance industry.

As well, Belize has made significant strides with monetary policy and structural reforms to build a sustainable economy with low unemployment rate and high gross domestic product growth, meeting its goals of poverty reduction, economic diversification and sustainable development. Unfortunately, however, its outlook remains uncertain due to increased competition within banking industry as well as any de-anchoring of US inflation expectations which could threaten its growth prospects and natural disaster risks that threaten its existence.

Although Belize’s banking system has proven resilient against shocks, it still faces liquidity challenges and may be exposed to negative global factors, including slowing economies and higher-than-anticipated trade deficits with major trading partners. Climate change risks also present significant vulnerabilities.

Protecting consumer interests in Belize will require cooperation and advocacy at various levels. Consumers have historically been key catalysts of change; their participation will be essential to the success of new legislation. It is imperative that government, non-government organizations, and communities collaborate in meeting consumer protection needs effectively.