After a very “difficult” and competitive environment in which some policyholders have been unable to pay their premiums, at least one insurance company is expecting some improvement within the industry this year.
President and chief executive officer of Sagicor General Insurance David Alleyne said the state of the economy, among other factors, had made it difficult for policyholders to meet their premium obligations, which was impacting on business.
He said falling rates also continued to have an impact on the insurance industry.
Alleyne gave that assessment as he responded to questions from journalists yesterday at a media briefing where he sought to quell fears about Sagicor Financial Corporation’s decision to re-domicile.
“The general insurance marketplace is difficult. There is tremendous competition within the marketplace. Rates have been falling consequent upon reinsurance rates being lower for the region. The economy has put a strain on the ability of our policyholders to pay,” said Alleyne, noting that Sagicor had to put special measures in place to accommodate those who had difficulty paying their premiums.
“There is a direct correlation between economic growth and the growth of an insurance sector and with the economy struggling there has been difficulty.”
Despite this, the insurance boss said the company had a “reasonable year” in 2014. He said there were some positive signs of improvement in the economy which should result in an improvement in the insurance industry towards the end of the year.
“I think that we need to move past the pessimism of where we are right now and work together to try to secure movement in our economy. We all have to put our heads together, work together, to strengthen the economy,” added Alleyne.
He said Sagicor General, which has approximately 10 per cent of the general insurance market, was not about to sit back and wait for economic improvements.
In fact, Alleyne said the company would be doing a lot of work and investment in areas of customer service and its information and technology platform.
“There are constraints to growth – the economy and the level of competition in Barbados. I think that the scope for Sagicor General to grow lies in the provision of exceptional service to the marketplace, buttressed by the strength of Sagicor Financial and the Goddard Group,” he said.
Sagicor General currently employs about 100 people in Barbados and another 100 in its operations in the other four territories – Antigua, St Lucia, Trinidad and Dominica.