The Insurance Council of Saint Lucia held its Fortieth Annual General Meeting on Thursday, September 24, 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 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.