A senior insurance executive is calling on authorities to do something about the issue of drinking and driving before it gets worse.
Chief Executive Officer of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados (ICBL) Ingrid Innes said she was open to entering discussions about setting a cap on the amount in general insurance claims which a company has to pay out.
She explained that such a change would have to go through an extensive process, including legislative changes. She was not certain if other industry players wanted that at this time.
Innes was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an appreciation cocktail reception at her St Peter’s Bay residence for media practitioners Wednesday evening.
Innes said while she did not have data on the number of serious accidents which occurred in Barbados last year, it was an issue that needed to be addressed because it was impacting the industry.
“ICBL hasn’t had any major one of those accidents. It hasn’t affected us. We have had a fairly good year from an accident perspective. We have had a couple of fatalities but not with comparison to what is happening in Barbados right now,” she said.
She added: “We need to look at it from a different perspective as well. What are we doing with the drinking and driving and all those kinds of things? You have to start from there to mitigate some of those accidents. I am not sure we are willing to be that strong and we have the will to make those changes”.
“I think drinking and driving, if you take a look at the stats in North America since they tightened those laws around drinking and driving, you see that that has really cut down and reduce the number of claims,” said Innes, who expressed support for breathalyzer testing.
With regard to a cap on the amount being paid out in general insurance claims, Innes said, “I think most insurance companies want that but at the end of the day, Barbados has to go through this process and I respect the process.”
“Even in Canada there is a cap on what you pay out. I would say most insurance companies would like to see that. I am not sure they have the will to actually go through the process right now given the economy and the people. I am not sure they would want to disadvantage any of their customers at this time,” she said.
In relation to ICBL’s performance, Innes said while she has not seen the final report, which is currently being audited, she was aware that the company performed better last year compared to 2014. She said there was exceptional growth in the life insurance business and modest growth on the general side.
“I would say for 2016 we are optimistic. We want to grow our business [and] we want to retain our business. I think our objective this year is to implement all the technologies so that we can better service our customers in 2016 but we are setting ourselves up for growth,” she said.
The insurance official described current insurance rates as “very soft” and competitive, noting “customers are winning right now from the soft rates”. (MM)