One of the island’s major insurance companies anxiously wants Government to reinstate personal tax allowances, including those for registered retirement savings plans and group pensions.
The removal of tax allowances on pensions in 2015 was met with disapproval by the insurance industry, with some officials arguing it would reverse gains made over the years.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a recent ceremony to celebrate Sagicor’s achievements for 2016, Chief Operations Officer and General Manager of Sagicor Life Inc Barbados Edward Clarke said if Government wanted people to invest in their future, then their pension was critical.
“[The industry] would like to see the pensions allowance restored to the taxable allowances,” Clarke said.
He also recommended that Government considers giving incentives to encourage more people to get insurance.
This, he said, would help grow the insurance industry and reduce dependence on the state.
“I think that pension and health insurance are things that the private enterprises can do very well. We have done it for a long time and I think you just need to give incentives to some people to get them more involved and see the need for it as well.
“It is just a little ease of the financial burden on people at this time especially. So we are looking for that pension deduction to be restored for sure in the near future and certainly more incentives for people to get insurance,” Clarke emphasized.
The Sagicor official said he was disappointed at the high number of Barbadians who refuse to get property insurance – particularly for chattel homes – because they were not required to do so.
He warned those who did not insure their homes risked losing everything in the event of a catastrophe.
“If they don’t have a requirement to do so a lot of people say, ‘I can afford not to take out insurance’. But it is a risk you are taking, and it is a big risk to take,” Clarke stressed.