Insurance business not aggressive enough

Michael Austin
Michael Austin

The newly-rebranded insurance conglomerate now known as Guardian Group, is targeting Barbados to grow its business.

Vice-President for Sales and Marketing in Life, Health and Pensions, Michael Austin, told a news conference at its Collymore Rock corporate offices this morning that the insurance business in Barbados in life, health and pensions had not been aggressive enough.

“And our intention is to operate on a more aggressive manner in terms of market share,” Austin submitted. “We are now eight years in Barbados, and the intent, the strategic intent, is to grow the market share in Barbados.”

He said that right now the share of the local market in life, health and pensions was between eight and 10 per cent.

But Executive Manager for the Guardian General Insurance portfolio, Nigel Adams, revealed that his company’s slice of the property and casualty segment in Barbados was about six per cent.

“On the P&C side, there are many more players in the market than on the life side. There are competing for a relatively small pie; relatively small in relation to international income and so on. So it’s smaller premiums,” Adams pointed out.

“And from a group perspective, just to give you a sense of what Barbados means to us as a group. We’ve been around on the P&C side in Barbados for over 30 years and on the life side for eight years. But our involvement and commitment to Barbados is very deep and it is for the very long term,” Group President Ravi Tewari interjected.

“As a Caribbean company, you cannot be a Caribbean company unless you have a significant foothold in the Barbadian market. We see the Barbadian market as an important market for us to generate significant growth in. So, in Barbados in particular in the coming years, we will be seeking ways and means to increase our market share across all lines of business.”

Barbados will also benefit from an estimated $40 million in investment in the coming years in the areas of IT infrastructure and customer queries. He was of the view that customer service in the region needed to be significantly reassessed, as the company penetrates the younger demographics. (EJ)

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