A local insurance broking firm says it expects more confidence in the sector after becoming the first local coverholder for Lloyd’s of London, the world’s specialist insurance market.
A coverholder is a company or partnership authorised by a managing agent to enter into contracts of insurance, and to issue insurance documentation on behalf of one or more of Lloyd’s syndicates.
Syndicates operate like vendors at a central market, each determining its own terms of operation.
Joe Sheridan, chairman and chief executive officer of the Insurance Brokers Ltd., the first Lloyd’s coverholder in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says the development is a major vote of confidence for the sector.
“Lloyd’s underwriters have been registered here for many, many years, but this is the first time that a local coverholder has been approved,” he said at a press briefing on Tuesday to announce the development.
“So we are very proud; we are honoured to be given that privilege to be the first local Lloyd’s coverholder in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Sheridan said.
Presently, there are over 2,500 coverholder around the world, including in nine countries in the Caribbean.
Sheridan said Lloyd’s often selects insurance brokers for this role because they are required to be absolutely professional in their operations.
He said Lloyd’s insist that insurance brokers must continue to give clients best advice at all times and are not allowed to favour one insurance company against the other, by virtue of commission or some other factor.
Lloyd’s, Sheridan said, is adamant about not allowing any conflict of interest.
“So that puts us under heavy manners and we have to work very carefully to make sure that we protect our reputation for being absolutely strict and absolutely independent,” he said.
“We have always given all of our clients access to the full local market and sometimes to the overseas market if the local market can’t supply things.
“But, for the first time, we will be allowed to have a facility to underwrite and accept Lloyd’s policies within certain restricted framework,” he said, adding that Lloyd’s is very cautious, and very conservative.
The underwriters have decided to start in SVG with property insurance.
“If they feel that it is being run properly and successfully, then that will be expanded. We are looking forward to that,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan said that Lloyd’s syndicates often work together and three of the top syndicates in the market are coming together to work with the Insurance Brokers Ltd.
“Lloyd’s is famous for strength, security, reputation, and they prefer customers who are going to practise good risk management. In other words, they want good clients, who are going to take care of their properties,” Sheridan said.
“So, they won’t accept any and every property and any kind of risk. They will be very cautious and make sure that it fits their requirements. And in doing so, we know that this will raise the standard within the insurance market in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
“We can see that this investment by certain Lloyd’s underwriters is a major issue. They have never been in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before in this regard, providing this service, so it is a major vote of confidence for the insurance market and we hope that this in turn will give confidence to the public.
“In other words, Lloyd’s is saying to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, ‘We think you are OK.’ That’s pretty good. So, we are looking forward to much more confidence in the insurance market as a result.”
Sheridan said that locally, with the economic downturn over the past three or four years, many persons have felt very negatively and are very uncomfortable about insurance.
“This is a major confidence boast for the whole market,” he said.