PRIME MIN­IS­TER LAUDS THE ROLE OF IN­SUR­ANCE

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Saint Lu­cia held its for­ti­eth An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 24th, 2015 at the San­dals La Toc Re­sort and Spa. The gath­er­ing was con­vened un­der the theme “Out of Ad­ver­sity Comes Op­por­tu­nity.” It was a theme re­flected by the guest speaker, Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs, Plan­ning and So­cial Se­cu­rity, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony.

Speak­ing to the “in­dis­pens­able re­al­ity of in­sur­ance as a re­quire­ment to guard against the un­wanted events of life,” the Prime Min­is­ter pointed out that it is in­cum­bent upon the in­sur­ance in­dus­try to bet­ter ed­u­cate the peo­ple of the Caribbean’s dis­as­ter-prone, vul­ner­a­ble na­tions as to the need for greater cov­er­age.

He went on to re­mind those present that cli­mate change poses an ever more di­rect, im­me­di­ate and very real threat to Saint Lu­cia and the re­gion, urg­ing his au­di­ence to be “grandil­o­quent ad­vo­cates for ac­tion to pro­mote risk re­duc­tion.”

Dr. An­thony also spoke to the sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship en­joyed be­tween gov­ern­ment and the in­sur­ance sec­tor. He noted that the in­dus­try has played a vi­tal part in help­ing to nav­i­gate the way back to eco­nomic sta­bil­ity since the ad­vent of global re­ces­sion in 2008, paving the way for fur­ther eco­nomic stim­uli.

Said Dr. An­thony, “Gov­ern­ment has had to seek new ar­eas of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, and new mod­els of public sec­tor in­vest­ment, while try­ing to con­tain debt and a healthy fis­cal po­si­tion. We are shar­ing the risks through public-pri­vate part­ner­ships, which are tak­ing root. Most no­tably is the He­wanorra In­ter­na­tional Air­port de­vel­op­ment, which will see the cre­ation of a mod­ern air­port that can im­prove our ca­pac­ity to ex­pand visi­tor ar­rivals.

“This year, we are also tak­ing the de­ci­sion to go the route - like Saint Kitts, Do­minica and Gre­nada - of a Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Pro­gramme to in­duce in­vest­ments and im­prove gov­ern­ment rev­enues. The Board is in place and we will soon be in­tro­duc­ing the reg­u­la­tions nec­es­sary to start this in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion ini­tia­tive.

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween gov­ern­ment and in­sur­ance also ex­tends to op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment. In­sur­ance com­pa­nies are some of the big­gest buy­ers of gov­ern­ment bonds, and es­pe­cially so in this era of low in­ter­est rates else­where. We need you and you need us. You need a strong, sol­vent state that can hon­our its li­a­bil­i­ties and re­duce risk. For the gov­ern­ment, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies are part­ners in man­ag­ing risks and re­duc­ing un­fore­seen li­a­bil­ity.”

The Prime Min­is­ter con­cluded by call­ing on lo­cal in­sur­ers to foster di­a­logue on the ma­jor chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the con­tem­po­rary en­vi­ron­ment. He en­cour­aged them to en­gage in “care­ful cal­cu­la­tion, elab­o­rate plan­ning, and learn­ing from valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence”, the bet­ter to man­age risk.

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