Just plain speechless!

This week, so many things have happened that I find it hard to comment on only one. So, at the risk of this article being a bit disjointed, I will write about three of them that rendered me speechless although they are not related.

The first one is more personal so I will start with that. Our house insurance is coming up for renewal and we got a quote from our insurer a month or so ago which was the same as last year. What they do is start with a big number, apply a “discount” and then end with a smaller (but still big) number.

Rather than accept their quote, I decided to shop around and asked our insurance broker to get some quotes for me. I have dealt with them for other types of insurance and have always been very impressed with their service. I got back the comparison of quotes from them this week for six insurance companies, including our existing insurance provider.

I was shocked and really annoyed (to say the least) to see that our existing insurance company came in among the three lowest quotes, at $1,378 less than the amount they had quoted us previously, even though we have been customers from the time we built our house nine years ago. I am still speechless!

They had even added the new policy stamp duty to their quote until the broker pointed out that we are existing customers. They then resubmitted their quote without it. Need I tell you that on principle alone, although they are one of the three lowest quotes (all the same amount), I am moving my business. Furthermore, because they were not honest enough to offer us the best premium at the outset, I will be moving all my other business from there as well. Call me naïve, because I know that businesses want to make a profit, but I am sure they are already making a profit at the lower premium, so they are just plain greedy.

Since I’m steamed up, I might as well continue to vent about the approval to spend $50 million on two new berths at the Bridgetown Port. As far as I know, the Port has not been privatized. Right? So it still belongs to Government. The same government that is struggling to pay salaries every month and has had to resort to printing money to do so. The same government that has the country in more debt than any other time in our history.

I understand that one of the berths is for luxury yachts and one for cargo, but I cannot help but wonder how many years it will take to make a return on that investment. I am not even going into the awarding of the contract in this article and the tendering process on the whole, or lack thereof.

The passing of these supplementary budgets and acts to reinstate parliamentarians’ salaries and such like, really annoy me because unless some of the ruling party’s members have the testicular fortitude to say “enough is enough”, everything will be passed, regardless of whether it is good for the country or not.

This is why I welcome the new parties and I would, even more so, welcome independents who have no party affiliation.  These independents, in the words of one of my colleagues, would “keep both parties on their toes” and also represent the people of Barbados without a party or personal agenda.

Finally, I was also rendered speechless by the Minister of Finance’s speech at his press conference. Well, at least the silence has been broken, but what was actually said? I was not that close to the radio, but I believe I heard the Minister say that there would be no devaluation this year or next year or any time in the foreseeable future.

That is music to the ears of all voters which, I’m sure, it was supposed to be. However, Mr. Sinckler’s optimism is a little disconcerting given what we know to be the state of the economy. I was not sure if it was a case of presenting alternative facts or a case of doublethink (as defined in George Orwell’s 1984). Perhaps he is optimistic about the economy now that Mr Arthur has agreed to lead the Council of Economic Advisers and share some of the good counsel that he has been sharing with everyone else.

I, for one, am happy. For years, I have been advocating putting aside party politics and having the best brains come together to come up with solutions to the country’s problems. But we should have no doubt, according to Mr. Arthur, that our way of life will be significantly affected.  We have waited almost too long to act so, now we have to be prepared to take whatever medicine is decided upon, and hope that it has the desired effect of making the economy healthy again.

(Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is also the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014 – 2016) and the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme. Contact her at donnadonnaevery.com

Website www.donnaevery.com; www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)

4 Responses to Just plain speechless!

  1. Sheron Inniss March 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Girl my mouth did not drop. I am now placing my worries at the Lord’s feet. I shall not let those tricksters send me to the grave before my time. I am hoping 30 independents come forward next time around. This system is broke and it needs emergency surgery.

  2. RHB March 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Donna: Your assumption that the insurer is making money at the lower rate is unfortunately naive. The simple truth is that the insurance market is in the soft part of the typical industry cycle, and this time, VERY soft. Competition pushes rates below true underwriting/risk levels and even though it might not be profitable, rates drop in order not to lose business to the competition. There is no real new business, it’s just the same risks moving around the market as you are about to do. When the market hardens again because of some catastrophe or reinsurance related issue, prices will then rise, probably above the true underwriting/risk related level as insurers will need to recoup what was lost in the soft cycle. And so the wheel turns! It would be so much better if the market could remain stable around the mid-level of rates but from past experience, that will never happen. There are always insurers looking for short term cash flow, the increased claims and losses come later, so in the short term, they feel happy. Of course, the cheaper rate benefits the policyholder, once you are with a reputable company. So, Donna, enjoy it while it’s low 🙂 Trust me, it will go back up.

  3. PM March 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Sinkcler saying the dollar will not be devalued does not mean it will not be.
    I can remember quite clearly a previous PM saying on CBC TV one night that CLICO Barbados policy holders had nothing to worry about when CLICO Trinidad was in trouble. The next couple of weeks this turned out to be quite erroneous.
    Politicians say want is necessary to stop panic, among the masses.

  4. James Lynch March 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    RHB, I find your words quite hollow. Perhaps you work for one of these insurance companies?

    Her insurance company played the same trick they are all playing on auto insurance clients, who start out insuring their car when it is new, never change it, and if something happens in six years the client is told the payout for the car will be based on actual value, not the much higher value (and premiums the client was/is still paying since new).

    In such cases I know that insurance companies are not telling lies, but they are also not telling their clients the truth that they should really revalue the car EVERY YEAR and adjust the insurance (and premiums) to suit.

    Similarly with property… if someone insures a house for $300K and it burns down five years later with replacement value of $500K, guess which number the insurance company will pay on, and what the reason will be? Right, they only pay only the $300K value, and will be happy to tell you “wuhloss, yuh shoulda had um re-value and mek de change wid yuh policy.” Too late now, Bosie.

    Donna did the right thing; she discovered her insurance company was robbing her and changed companies – with ALL of her business. IF and/or WHEN insurance rates go up, perhaps she will be smart enough to offer her business out to bids again, and pick the best again – and hopefully the broker will ensure that the coverage will be same for all of the bidders – and that small rotten breadfruit are not being offered as being the same as sweet oranges.

    When I discover that a bank is playing fast and loose with my money and my time, I have no loyalty whatsoever – I change banks toot sweet, no explanation necessary. Gimme muh money, and I gone.

    Personally, I think insurance is a necessary scam, and I always treat them appropriately – with the greatest distrust.


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