As discussions continue on Sagicor’s decision to move its domicile from Barbados, a top official of another regional insurance company says there is no need to fear that the move would have any impact on the industry.
In fact, after experiencing a favourable performance in Barbados in 2014 amidst economic challenges, president of the Trinidad-based Guardian Life of the Caribbean Anand Pascal told Barbados TODAY the company was expecting a “positive” 2015.
The company’s portfolio consists of life and health insurance and pensions in Trinidad and Barbados. It also has operations in other countries.
“I wouldn’t say there are any significant concerns. I can’t speak for anybody else, but we don’t have any concerns about the insurance market in Barbados. We are quite positive about the direction and the things that we have seen in the Barbados market and look forward to being a part of this market for a long time to come,” Pascal said.
“The life [insurance] side of our business here in Barbados, I think there is a lot of potential for growth. Many Caribbean nations are not even near the metrics with respect to insurance penetration. So I think there is a lot of potential for growth and really it is about us as an industry and us as a company doing our part to educate the public about what insurance really means and being able to provide that need.”
Pascal said despite the economic difficulties in Barbados he remained positive that once the company was able to ramp up its awareness campaign, among other plans, it should continue to perform well.
“Yes, there are challenging situations in Barbados that we have been experiencing for the last couple of years and with
. . . the things that are shaping the rest of the Caribbean, and in particular Trinidad, with the falling oil prices I still think there is a reason to be positive,” he said.
“Once we put our minds to really educating and getting out and meeting with our customers and spreading the purpose of what insurance really does to protect a family during difficult times, then that is the feeding ground that will support the industry going forward,” Pascal added.
In relation to policyholders being able to keep up with their premiums, he said the lapse rate was not a worrying one.
He suggested it was a result of a mix of factors and not just the state of the economy.
“Yes, it is a little higher than what we would like but it is certainly not materially detrimental to the operations here . . . . So there is no cause for concern. It is just part of the business cycle that we go through and we manage through it,” the Guardian Life official said.
Pascal was speaking last evening on the sidelines of a cocktail party organized by the company for media and other stakeholders.