Financial regulation could be a double edged sword in that despite its major thrust being that to secure the financial sector and bring about financial stability; it might have the unintended consequence of stifling innovation by the sector. We investigate the nexus between financial regulation and innovation by specifically focusing on the insurance industry in South Africa. We demonstrate that there are plethora pieces of legislation that govern the insurance industry in South Africa. As such this has driven the cost of compliance to unsustainable levels thereby curtailing the spending by companies on innovation. We thus would like to caution the policy makers’ that this “heavy-touch” regulatory mode is having a pernicious effect on research and development by the insurance sector. As such we encourage them to embrace the “light-touch” regulatory mode whereby self-regulation and moral suasion are other avenues to be considered.