At least one insurance company here is satisfied that confidence in the sector is bound to rise with Government’s decision to provide close to $30 million in its 2017-2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure to policyholders of the failed CLICO International Life and its sister agency British American Insurance Company (BAICO).
General Manager of Pan-American International Insurance Corporation of Barbados Keith King said the decision could only mean well for the industry.
In fact, King said given the efforts at a solution over the past two years, the industry had witnessed an improvement in confidence, with Pan American reporting favourable results.
“It helps to restore the confidence that has been affecting, to some extent, our people over the last six years or there about. I know this is going to be a positive,” King said at the company’s annual press conference at the Barbados Hilton Resort Friday.
“In the last two years actually, the number of things that have happened have actually helped to restore the confidence and this can only go further to bring back that level of confidence to the industry which we need. The fact that our business grew last year is an indication that people have settled back down,” he added.
Pan-American, a member of the American-based Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG), recorded a 14 per cent overall growth in business for the financial year ending December 2016. The strongest performance came from its life business.
The company, which currently operates in 13 territories in the region and a total of 22 markets globally, focuses on life, accident, annuity and health coverage in Barbados, and boasts of being number two in the life product.
Officials attribute last year’s growth, especially in the employee benefit portfolio, to improved products, competitive premium pricing, a more aggressive approach to business and the company’s regional footprint.
Having projected ten per cent growth this year before the latest economic downgrades by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, the company plans to maintain its forecast, King said.
“Of course we are concerned about the downgrades. All of us who live here are concerned . . . . However, we believe that we should still be able to see that growth we are anticipating,” he said.
King was quick to dismiss any notion that in harsh economic times people did not take out insurance coverage, pointing out that Barbadians were becoming more aware of its importance.
“Insurance thrives in a difficult environment. When it appears to be gloom and doom on all sides, you would notice if you check history, that insurance stands out.
“Consider it a mystery if you want, but the truth is it happens. Already this year we are ahead of where we were last year and if you check we have been hearing so much doom and gloom in the economy that it would probably be enough to have people run, but no,” King explained.
Managing Director for the PALIG’s Caribbean operations Greer Quan said the Barbados market continued to be a major contributor to the company’s overall regional portfolio, contributing ten per cent of the group’s Caribbean business and growing by 30 per cent in the employee benefits portfolio.