Wednesday, 11 June 2014

CAIR president addresses conference

Efforts are under way to improve the overall regulatory climate among the countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Word of this has come from John Benjamin, President of Caribbean Association of Insurance Regulators (CAIR). He made the comments while delivering welcome remarks at the opening of the CAIR Conference, which took place at the Hilton Barbados Hotel.

According to Benjamin, as a part of this initiative, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) is in an advanced stage of developing a single regulatory unit that is intended to govern all registered insurers in ECCU member states. He added that as a first step in creating this regulatory union, work has been done to draft a harmonising insurance act which has been circulated to the various stakeholders for their comments.

Benjamin told those gathered that an important part of this legislative framework will be provisions that will incorporate the ideals of the insurance core principles (ICPs), all in an effort to promote a culture of best practice within the insurance industry in the sub region.

He alluded that this work by the ECCU to bolster the insurance industry, stemmed from failures in that sector in recent times.

“Negative events in the global economy dating back to 2008 revealed significant structural weaknesses in the financial supervisory regime; as a region this was most evident in the area of insurance supervision. A careful review of some of the factors that triggered the much publicised failures of a number of major regional insurance companies including the following – outdated pieces of legislation, injudicious corporate governance principles and practices, inadequate capital and solvency regimes, weak internal controls and limited technical expertise in the area of insurance supervision,” the CAIR president said.

That situation, he said, caused regulators to ask the logical question of how to move forward and prevent a recurrence of failures of such magnitude, but at the same time creating the requisite atmosphere to develop a robust, world class regulatory regime. With that in mind, he said CAIR is hoping to shed some light on that matter through the four-day conference which has brought together a few strategic partners, whose resources the sector can draw on to achieve that goal. (JRT)

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