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As regards the main amendment to Clause 19, I continue to think that this would be better dealt with on the face of the Bill. The Minister's interpretation of that clause gave us some hope to think that statements of fact will be seen in their proper context. Although I should like to press him further, I feel that, in all the circumstances, the wisest thing for me to do would be to ask leave to withdraw this amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 11, I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 13, 15, 16, 30 to 34, 48 to 55, 75 to 79, 101 to 135, 149, 150, 168, 169 and 176 to 192. Those of your Lordships who are quicker than I will already have added those up to 78 in all. It is a rather large
The two main issues which this group of amendments seeks to address are, first, to ensure that the way in which certain matters relating to insurance and deposits are described in the Bill is consistent with the structure of the Bill; and, secondly, to enable the repeal of the Insurance Companies Act 1982. Your Lordships will be happy to hear that I do not intend to go through each of the 78 amendments in turn but that I shall deal with them, as it were, by subject matter.
Under deposits, the change of references to deposit- taking in the five Amendments Nos. 11, 13, 15, 16 and 169 are--famous last words--easily explained. At the moment, the Bill refers in some places to "deposit-taking" and in others to "accepting deposits". We think it is pretty clear that these terms are intended to have the same meaning. However, by ensuring that the same term is used throughout, we remove the scope for someone to argue that accepting deposits and deposit-taking have different meanings. We have therefore standardised references to the term that most neatly meets the structure of the Bill.
Our main difficulty with the references to insurance in the Bill--I am sorry that there are so many of them--is that they all depend on definitions in the Insurance Companies Act 1982. It has always been our intention that the 1982 Act should be repealed in its entirety. Unfortunately, it has taken us a while to devise a suitable mechanism for achieving the desired result in a way that is consistent with the structure of the Bill, under which particular regulated activities will be defined off the face of the Bill.
Half a dozen of the amendments change references to "dealing" in contracts of insurance to "effecting or carrying out" such contracts. Not only does this more accurately describe the activity we are seeking to capture, but it also introduces consistency throughout the Bill and removes scope for argument about whether they were intended to mean the same, or different, things.
The next batch of amendments sets out changes needed--these account for about half the amendments in the group--to remove references to "insurance companies". "Insurance company" is a term of art borrowed from the very different regulatory structure of the Insurance Companies Act 1982. In that Act its meaning is not limited to companies: indeed, individuals and one industrial and provident society fall within that definition. It also includes any person carrying on insurance business, whether or not they are authorised to do so.
Our approach therefore has been either to refer an authorised person with permission to effect or carry out contracts of insurance, or simply to refer to an insurer which will be defined in regulations made by the Treasury in a particular context. In some cases, for example, the insolvency provisions, it will be necessary to limit the application of certain provisions to companies or to authorised persons. In other cases, a wider meaning will be necessary.
The final substantive matter dealt with in this group is the introduction of the new clause after Clause 415. This defines the concepts of "contracts of insurance", "reinsurance" and contracts of particular types of insurance by reference to Clause 20 and Schedule 2. This makes it clear that the references in the Bill are to have the same meanings as in the order. If necessary, the definitions could be amplified in secondary legislation under the provisions of Part III of Schedule 2.
The new clause also confers on the Treasury power by order to define certain other insurance-related terms: namely, "policy" and "policy-holder" and power by regulations to determine the law applicable to prescribed classes of insurance contracts.
There are also a few amendments that make very minor drafting or technical changes, many of which are intended to bring the relevant provisions into line with the changes I have already described. They include, for example, Amendment No. 101 to Clause 340, which concerns a record of authorised persons, where we have just spotted a mistake in a definition in subsection (7). When I say "just" I do not mean just now but earlier on, during the period between Report and today's proceedings. I wonder whether anyone else spotted that mistake too! The definition should have been of an "authorised unit trust scheme".
Finally, the four amendments to Clause 137 seek to ensure that the powers under that clause which relate to the creation of charges will operate properly in Scotland. As the clause stands, the word "charge" could be taken to have a different meaning here from the meaning given in Clause 109(15). Also, without the amendment in relation to Scotland, the definition would have a narrower meaning than it does for the rest of the United Kingdom. We are therefore correcting that.
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