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The U.S.' Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 came into force in 2013 and imposes sanctions “with respect to the provision of underwriting services or insurance or reinsurance activities for persons with respect to which sanctions have been imposed,” among other things. The act also places sanctions on individual entities and activities connected to Iran's energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors.
The European Union since 2012 has imposed restrictions on trade with Iran that includes foreign trade, financial services, energy and technology. The E.U. also prohibits insurance and reinsurance by companies based in the European Union of Iranian-owned companies.
Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and several other countries also impose restrictions on trade with Iran.
The United States has had a sanctions program against Syria since 2004 that has been escalated after violence in the country in 2011. U.S. sanctions prohibit, among other things, new investment in Syria by a U.S. person, wherever located; direct, or indirect exportation, re-exportation, sale or supply of any service to Syria from the United States by a U.S. person, wherever located; and any transaction or dealing by a U.S. person in relation to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin.
The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control has in place restrictions on trade with Cuba. The European Union does not impose similar restrictions. The U.S. also has a ban on imports of goods and services from North Korea.
A recent proliferation of economic and trade sanctions that can apply directly to insurers means that marine insurance companies must undertake detailed due diligence.