The Insurance Company of the West Indies recently launched its newly incorporated Cayman company, ICWI Cayman Islands Ltd., at a cocktail reception given at Grand Old House.
Although ICWI has been an insurance provider in the Cayman Islands for 37 years as a branch of its Jamaican head office, the intense hurricane period in which we now appear to have entered made regulators in Cayman, as well as those managing ICWI, look long and hard at the structure of the business.
At the reception, Paul Lalor with ICWI explained, ‘ICWI did well after Hurricane Ivan and managed to settle its claims quickly and efficiently. However, four major hurricanes affected jurisdictions in which we operate during 2004. This, along with the demise of Dyoll, had regulators in Jamaica, as well as the Cayman regulator, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, examine how customers could be best protected during future possible catastrophes. We were therefore encouraged to fully capitalise the Cayman Islands branch of the ICWI and incorporate it as a Cayman company with its own separate balance sheet. We are affecting this change with our Bahamas branch and our Trinidad subsidiary as well.
‘This means that a jurisdiction will only be affected by a catastrophe in that particular jurisdiction. For example, if a hurricane hit Jamaica but missed the Cayman Islands, Cayman residents will not find any increase in their premiums, because each company now has fully segregated portfolios.’
Lalor said that despite Hurricane Ivan, the ICWI l managed to reap a small profit during 2004 and managed to retain a sizeable chunk of the market. He confirmed that 2005 was ICWI Cayman Islands’ best year on record.
Looking to 2006 and beyond, Lalor said that Hurricane Ivan had taught people in Cayman to either have a new respect for, or a fear of, Mother Nature and that those living in such exotic places as Cayman should be aware of the associated risk involved with living in the hurricane belt and properly insure themselves accordingly.
He concluded, ‘None of us should live by ‘It can’t happen again’.’
ICWI’s main emphasis of business is in motor insurance and the company used the reception at Grand Old House to launch its Road Emergency & Accident Control service in the Cayman Islands.
REACT is a 24 hour roadside assistance service provided by ICWI to respond to clients’ emergencies on the road and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week including public holidays.
‘This has been a popular service in Jamaica where we have a vehicle on call in each parish. In Cayman we have one mechanic based in George Town who is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with any roadside breakdowns. He will initially try and fix the fault (such as a flat tyre) but if he is unable he will ensure that the vehicle gets taken to a garage and the driver gets taken home,’ said Mr. Lalor.
‘This is a free service to all our fully comprehensive insured customers and is also available to ICWI’s third party policy holders for a minimal fee. We also anticipate rolling out this service to anyone in Cayman, whether they are a customer or not, again, for a minimal fee.’