Sagicor becomes Cayman First

Bahamas
First Holdings Limited completed the purchase of a 75.24 per cent interest in
Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd. on Thursday, 17 June and then announced
the renaming of the company to Cayman First.

Speaking
at a reception at the company’s local offices to celebrate the acquisition,
Cayman First President Danny Scott called the relationship between Bahamas
First and Cayman First “a good marriage… built on a solid foundation”.

“We
truly believe this new company is poised to become the leading general insurer
in the Cayman Islands,” he said.

Noting
that the company’s staff and management were being retained, Mr. Scott said it
was “business better than usual”.

Bahamas
First Holdings Chairman Ian Fair said the acquisition of Sagicor General was
the next logical step in the progression of measured growth of the company. He
said four underlying principles had underpinned the success of Bahamas First
over its 28-year history, including sound underwriting and claims practices,
growth generated by solid performance, and dedicated shareholders, directors
and staff.

“Fourth,
and perhaps most important, we have been most fortunate to attract employees
who understand insurance is first and foremost a service business,” he said.

Minister
of Health Mark Scotland, speaking on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government,
expressed his pleasure at having Bahamas First choose the Cayman Islands as a
place in which to do business.  He said
the government was particularly pleased that Bahamas First did not come in and
“clean house” but instead ensured continuity by retaining the current
management and staff.

Bahamas
First Group President and CEO Patrick Ward said the acquisition would
positively affect the company’s insurance ratings.

“It
has… diversified the Bahamas First revenue base, which is definitely good
practice when operating in an area of the world prone to natural catastrophe
events,” he said. “This has been something A.M. Best has been asking for, and
we have now responded. We expect this will have a beneficial effect on our
financial strength rating going forward.”

The
insurance company was founded in April 1984 as Cayman General Insurance
Company, a subsidiary of Cayman National Corporation.  In 2005, the Cayman Islands Government
acquired just less than 25 per cent of the company’s shares as part of a
negotiated settlement of its 2004 Hurricane Ivan damage claim.  Later in 2005, the Sagicor Group bought 51
per cent of the company’s shares and in 2006 changed the company’s name to
Sagicor General Insurance.  In 2007, the
Sagicor Group obtained the balance of Cayman National’s shares.

Because
the Cayman Islands Government still owns almost 25 per cent of Cayman First, it
was able to nominate two people for the company’s seven-member board of
directors: Danny O’Hara and Bryan Murphy. 
Mr. Scott also sits on the board to give local representation.

BIZsagicorSTORY

Employees of Cayman First, formerly known as Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd., at the celebration of its renaming and purchase by Bahamas First Holdings Limited.
Photo: Alan Markoff

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