Limited investment opportunity has been identified as one of the challenges that an international insurance company is facing in efforts to grow its operations in Barbados.
While Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG) recorded a modest overall eight per cent increase or US$704 million in revenue, and approximately 30 per cent growth in the Caribbean market, it described growth here as “slower”.
Senior vice president of international operations Robert DiCianni presented the financial results this morning during a media briefing at the Accra Beach Hotel.
He attributed growth within the group to a mix of factors, including acquisitions, expansion in some of its operations, an increase in product sales, and staff development, among other changes within the company.
“With the top-line growth, in Barbados it’s been slower than the rest of the Caribbean. The Caribbean growth has been significant . . . We think that there is still huge opportunity for us generally in the Caribbean region, and specifically we think that there are some growth opportunities for Pan-American here in Barbados,” he said.
However, responding to a question from Barbados TODAY, DiCianni said he believed the company could have performed better if it was allowed to do more investment outside of the country.
“One of the things we do to ensure we can do that is look for investment-grade [and] high quality investments . . . Right now in Barbados, due to the current regulation, that is limited. The capability to do that is limited. When we have to invest a very, very large portion of those reserves locally, it limits you in that respect, in getting those investment quality and best investment grades to support your long term commitments,” he said.
“I think Jamaica and other places in the region have similar situations where there is that challenge . . . If we had much more flexibility in terms of being able to invest in vehicles outside of the island and in other investment grade quality, we would be growing even more here.”
DiCianni said the situation limited the company’s ability to go “full ahead”.
General manager of the Barbados operation, Keith King, added that the limited investment opportunities restricted the company in terms of “what we are able to do and the types of returns we are able to get”.
He said the company would therefore determine what products were offered and what returns for policyholders it would commit to.
Despite the slow performance, DiCianni pledged the company’s continued growth and expansion in the island, saying it would continue to invest in product and staff development.