BritCay gets $27M injection

In the wake of Ivan, British Caymanian Insurance Company Limited, or BritCay as it is more familiarly known, is to receive a cash injection of CI$27 Million.

The source of this fresh investment capital is primarily from Colonial Group International (Colonial), Bermuda, a long standing shareholder/partner of BritCay.

Substantial ongoing support has also been provided by the Foster family and Capt. Charles Kirkconnell, states a press release.

The capital is to enable BritCay to meet its commitments to the residue of Ivan claims, reinforce the company’s position as the major Cayman Insurance provider and retain its much valued (A-) AM Best rating. Cash is also to be made available to deliver a range of exciting new product initiatives in employee benefits, personal and business insurance and life and investment plans.

An improved reinsurance programme has been completed, benefiting from Group leverage in the London and European markets.

‘Our business plan has always relied upon cautious underwriting backed by substantial reinsurance protection as we insure considerable business and personal assets,’ said Alan Peacock, President and CEO of Colonial Group International.

BritCay has faced up to Ivan and is stronger for it, the release stats. In business terms Ivan represented a ‘worst case scenario’ in the volume, scale and intensity of claims, Mr. Peacock said. ‘BritCay has now paid over CI$170 million in claims representing over 90 per cent of the number of claims presented. The majority of outstanding settlements relate to damage at large commercial enterprises.’

Derry Graham, the General Manager, of BritCay stated, ‘The motor loss was far worse than anyone had imagined including the members of the global reinsurance market. BritCay has settled 2000 motor claims at a cost of just over $19 Million.’

‘The property loss has been difficult for the Loss Adjusters to assess. Two factors have played a major role in the escalation of the cost; the increase in the cost of labour and materials due to economic factors and the damage caused by the flooding was not always apparent at first sight, e.g. hidden damage to electrical installations. BritCay has made significant interim payments to ease cash flow as the claims process has run its course,’ said John Cameron, head of Property.

‘We have learned a great deal from this event to help us improve our operations in other areas. We are listening to our customers and intend to implement a number of new measures in the coming months,’ said Mr. Graham.

Colonial Group International has supported BritCay with underwriting, reinsurance and product delivery since 1984. Its holding will increase from 40 per cent to 75 per cent. Valued and well respected local families and entrepreneurs are retaining their interest in the operation.

The Foster family (5 per cent) are represented by David Foster, Chairman of BritCay.

Capt. Charles Kirkconnell, the previous Chairman of many years, retains 20 per cent. It’s an evolutionary step in the long term commitment that Colonial has made to The Cayman Islands. The Group’s prestigious offices at BritCay House are further evidence of this long term investment, the release states.

‘Ivan was a major test but the commitment and response of the Fosters and Kirkconnells has been superb,’ said Alan Peacock. ‘My chairman, Sir David Gibbons KBE together with the Deputy Chairman, Dr. the Hon. Grant Gibbons, have offered exceptional support in the face of this catastrophic event and unprecedented loss.’

An international insurance and employee benefits provider Colonial Group International is an A- rated insurance group with gross revenues of almost $200 million from a complete range of products, Motor, Property, Life, Health, and Pensions.

Colonial also manages operations in the Bahamas and BVI, other areas of the Caribbean and International Life and Health products. The Group is one of the largest insurance carriers in the region, settling over 300,000 group benefits claims each year.

The scheduled move back to BritCay House is taking longer than expected.

However, BritCay anticipates further expansion of personal lines operations to take place in August when the company expects to move to the third floor of BritCay House. The company already occupies the fourth floor.

BritCay is focusing on the opportunities that lie ahead as a leading and respected member of the Cayman Island’s commercial community, the release states.

‘I enjoyed a long period as Chairman of BritCay and have seen it flourish from a small personal lines operation to a composite insurance group. BritCay now underwrites some $15 Million of motor, property and casualty business and manages over $25 Million of Medical and Pensions revenues,’ said Mr. Kirkconnell,

‘I wish to thank the staff for their effort during these difficult times. They have put aside their own homes and families to work exceptional hours. We are all doing everything that we can to help Cayman recover. BritCay has taken all of the necessary steps to reorganize and re capitalize its business. We are now seeking to consolidate and expand our market share in all classes of business, Motor, Property, Health, Pensions and Life,’ said David Foster.

As for a future, and greater involvement from Colonial, Sir David Gibbons stated, ‘I have very long ties with Cayman, going back some 30-odd years. In my past role as Chairman of the Bank of Butterfield, I expanded the operations here and had the opportunity to meet many of the people of the islands. I have a longstanding friendship and partnership with David Foster and Capt. Charles Kirkconnell. We are all committed to do making sure that we play our part in helping to restore the economic well being and lifestyles of our policyholders’.

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