British Caymanian Insurance (BritCay) remains one of the Cayman Islands oldest insurance companies having commenced business in 1984. Derry Graham, General Manager, has been in charge of the company since 1988 and is proud of what BritCay has achieved.
“BritCay remains essentially the same company that I joined all those years ago, with strong ties to local investors and families. The company is very customer focused, demands high standards of professionalism and business ethics but never forgets its local roots. We’re in tune with the Cayman Islands and I would like to think we have grown and matured as our community has changed. Our biggest test was Hurricane Ivan and we came through the experience with our customers and emerged financially and commercially more resilient.”
The core business of BritCay remains the property and casualty insurance company, offering motor, home and business insurance. In 1984, BritCay was founded by prominent local businessmen in partnership with Colonial Group International (CGI) of Bermuda, which is one of ten independently incorporated companies operating in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. Derry stated, “Foreign insurance companies were leaving the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s, and we recognised it as an opportunity to increase market share.
Changes with insurance companies locally, accelerated in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan and BritCay consolidated its position as a Caymanian insurance and employee benefits provider”. BritCay’s current status with CGI is as a senior member of a regional insurance and employee benefits group managing close to $300 million premium income each year.
John Cameron, Assistant General Manager, explained, “Our relationship with CGI enabled BritCay to broaden its offering to customers who wanted more sophisticated products and services, especially in Health Insurance and Pensions. BritCay incorporated specialist agencies to manage these products for our customers, using the resources, investment capital and leverage of CGI. A key benefit of this relationship, for example, is the quality and choice of network care and benefits for our health insurance customers.
Not only do we have a direct and very stable relationship with our network provider, going back to 1995, we also use a sophisticated claims management system. This delivers 99% claims settlement inside 10 days with 98% procedural accuracy. It is now available to any local provider to access eligibility data and submit claims online. The same applies to Pensions. We have the facility to update information each night and complete reports and accounts for contributions by day 27 each month. Clients can then check their information with the click of a mouse”.
Although a valuable member of CGI, BritCay is a Caymanian company, staffed primarily by Caymanian employees and delivering products to match the expectations of customers for price, coverage and service. Derry Graham feels this is a particularly important feature of the business.
“We operate our business as a company where people come first. That means we feel obliged to participate in and contribute to our local community as an employer and provider of important services. We owe our community our livelihoods after all, and our hard work has allowed us to earn the trust of many long-standing customers. The market for motor insurance for example, is very competitive. We remain the largest insurer of motor vehicles but we work hard to maintain that market share by adding value to the product and service. We are the only insurance company offering $10 million liability protection as a standard private car policy benefit at no extra cost. We introduced this in the light of some very expensive motor claims, some with life changing outcomes. We felt it important to protect not only the insured, but the victim as well. As the senior motor insurance provider in Cayman, we feel we lead the way for adequate cover for expensive legal actions. After all, who wants to lose their home over what in most cases is a result of a genuine accident?”
With Personal and Business insurance representing the core business of BritCay, the company is particularly sensitive to the fact that insurance premiums are not a popular dinner table conversation. John Cameron added, “Insurance is regarded as a stress purchase. Insurance companies should therefore invest in any value that can be added to that purchase to make it more bearable for the customer. Service is the single most likely reason for an insurance company to keep or lose a customer. Customers have switched to BritCay because of service issues. Price and cover matter obviously, but service is repeatedly offered as a reason why customers move. As for premiums, it is a very competitive market. Cayman doesn’t have the luxury of great variations in price. It’s a small market with little differentiation and external factors can play a large part in determining premium rates.
Home Insurance premiums globally felt the pressures of a terrible 2011, a consequence of such events as Hurricane Irene, Tornadoes in the USA and Japan’s Tsunami. The global insurance market typically catches a cold from events that are eventually felt by individuals paying a premium thousands of miles from where they occurred. So, although 2012 is looking increasingly like a relatively calm hurricane season, the hurricane trends of the last 25 years have seen increased rates being applied in the Northern Caribbean so pressure remains on price. All the same, check your quotes, cover and ask about service before you pay your premium”.
BritCay enjoys its independence as much as it does the financial stability of being part of a larger group. Derry Graham concluded, “We’re in the business of preparing for the future and protecting customers from future events. We feel BritCay is in a great position to offer customers real financial security with the best products at the best possible price. We’re looking forward to what the future can bring. So far, the journey has been very successful”.