Not another CLICO

Top executives of the rebranded Guardian Group.
Top executives of the rebranded Guardian Group.

After 166 years in the insurance business, the Guardian conglomerate in the Caribbean this morning unveiled its rebranded image, with an assurance to present and future policyholders, that it would not turn out to be “another CLICO”, which collapsed about four years ago.

Now known as Guardian Group — bringing its nine major member companies in 22 territories under one umbrella — the firm has sought to allay the fears of Barbadians, as a cloud of uncertainty continues to hover over the insurance sector, where thousands of CLICO policyholders and investors still await word from the court-appointed judicial manager on whether they will get back their millions of dollars.

“At the core of Guardian’s being is the concept of stability,” Group President for Life, Health and Pensions, Ravi Tewari told reporters at a news conference at its Collymore Rock, St. Michael corporate offices after the ceremony.

“We are rebranding, but one of the slogans that has always defined Guardian is, ‘solid as a rock’. We have been around for 166 years, and we have outlived a number of different versions of the Insurance Act,” Tewari noted.

“Where we have got with the current state of legislation in the Caribbean, the insurance act is very, very strong, and we hold ourselves to the highest level of financial strength within the act.

guardianunveiled“But even if you go back over 20 years when the insurance acts across the Caribbean were substantially weaker, … we never held ourselves to the minimum according to the act. We held ourselves to the minimum prudential standards you should have as an insurer; and we always operated to the highest of solvency by international standards.”

The insurance executive said that in spite of what the standards were in a particular territory, Guardian always held itself to international standards.

“And as an acid test of that, the facts are there to be examined, because we are a publicly-traded company. Our books are open to the public, [we’re] open to public scrutiny and anyone can do an indepth analysis of Guardian to validate our deep financial strengthed Tewari,” assert.

The Guardian Group president also argued that the company was the largest in the insurance field in the region.

“Our revenue is in excess of US$700 million, we are rated A-minus excellent — that’s Guardian Life of the Caribbean. Guardian General of the Caribbean is also rated A-minus excellent; we both have stable outlooks… We have a very high level of solvency,” declared the top insurance official. (EJ)

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