Insurance concerns minister

Minister of Health Gilbert McLean has expressed concern about the insurance industry.

His comments in the Legislative Assembly Monday seemed to address a broader landscape than just health insurance.

Speaking in reply to Leader of the Opposition Kurt Tibbetts debate on the Bill to amend the Health Insurance Law, Mr. McLean said he shared many of Mr. Tibbetts’ concerns.

Mr. Tibbetts had spoken about the needs of Cayman residents for health, property and life insurance, things he said had become a necessity in life.

Mr. McLean broadened his comments on the industry beyond health insurance.

‘I have serious concerns about what is happening generally in insurance myself,’ he said.

Mr. McLean said later he had fears that some insurance companies were not sufficiently capitalised, or did not have adequate reinsurance to handle catastrophic conditions.

‘I postulate that is the situation with some insurance companies in this country right now,’ he said.

Becoming more specific, Mr. McLean appeared to have an example in mind, although he did not mention any names.

‘What particularly alarms me is where insurance companies, which cannot pay claims, are still accepting premiums under the guise that they can pay,’ he said. ‘This could be criminal.’

Saying the situation was a grave concern, Mr. McLean called on the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority to act.

‘This needs to be identified by CIMA and they must take the appropriate action,’ he said.

Mr. McLean also had criticisms specifically for companies providing health insurance.

Some of the Health Services Authority’s problems with cash flow are a result of health insurance companies not paying fees due, Mr. McLean said.

‘Right now, that is still the case,’ he said.

Mr. McLean explained that part of the Health Insurance Law requires insurance companies to pay claims within 30 days.

He also explained that claims must be submitted to the insurance companies within 180 days to be valid.

‘Insurance companies are not paying on time,’ he said. ‘There is reason for the public to be concerned.’

Mr. McLean indicated he did not care if his comments upset insurance companies.

‘I was not elected by any insurance company,’ he aid. ‘I was elected by the people to represent them. The people who purchase goods and services must be protected.’

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