Players in the Caribbean insurance industry are being urged to develop innovative products that will provide natural disaster protection for critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lloyd B. Smith, made the appeal, as he delivered the keynote address at the opening of the 35th annual conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean held on May 31, at the Hyatt Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James.
“We know that there are great risks in agricultural insurance, but there is some work being done on parametric insurance with the help of the multilaterals and Caribbean governments,” he noted.
“I urge you to join forces with them to find a creative solution for even some limited amount of insurance protection that will at least allow farmers to replant,” he said.
Unlike traditional indemnity (re) insurance that covers a policyholder’s actual losses, parametric insurance pays out in response to defined triggers such as a natural catastrophe.
Mr. Smith is also encouraging the region’s insurers to start looking at investment prospects from the soon-to-be-established Logistics Hub.
“I urge you to take a closer look at the Logistics Hub and get ready to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. Success in this area will depend, to a large extent, on a series of public-private partnerships with the private sector leading the way and the Government facilitating the process,” he said.
Turning to efforts to establish an International Financial Centre in Jamaica,
Mr. Smith advised the gathering that Government is making progress in creating the enabling legal framework for the facility.
The critical pieces of legislation should be in place by the end of 2015.
“The Jamaica International Financial Services Authority is in place and is making plans to position Jamaica as a niche player in this valuable business area,” Mr. Smith informed.
He noted that insurance and reinsurance services are among the niche areas identified to be offered when the facility is launched.
Establishment of the International Financial Services Centre will transform the country into an offshore financial hub, similar to jurisdictions such as Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.
Seven new Bills have already been drafted including: an International Holding Companies Act; a Trust Act; two Partnership Bills; a Limited Liability Companies Act; A Segregated Account Companies Act; and a Trust and Corporate Service Providers Bill.
Meanwhile, insurance industry veteran, Hon. Dennis Lalor, OJ, was honoured by the Insurance Association of the Caribbean for his contribution to the development of the sector, not only in Jamaica but across the Caribbean.
Mr. Lalor was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by President and Chief Executive Officer of Sagicor General Insurance in Barbados, David Alleyne; and Vice President of Atlantic Insurance Company Limited in Belize, Martha Guerra.
By Marlon Tingling
Photo by: Marlon Tingling