Central Bank’s Deputy Inspector of Financial Institutions Wendy Ho-Sing does not believe the new 2013 Insurance Bill will be passed before year’s end.
Speaking at the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers (TTAIFA) seminar at the Capital Plaza, Port of Spain, yesterday Ho-Sing noted that the process which was started in 2001 is now 12 years old.
“We are now in 2013—we have had extensive consultation with the industry and the public between the periods of 2004 and 2009. The Bill was actually laid in Parliament last year and again this year but it has lapsed and we expect that it will be laid in Parliament before the end of this year.
“The Minister of Finance and the Economy (Larry Howai) would like the Bill to be reviewed by a Joint Select Committee for further consideration as he said it ‘as an additional measure of caution and completeness’.
“While we think this represents progress on the new Bill, making its way to being active, we think it is unlikely that the Bill will be passed in 2013.
“We can only hope and keep our fingers crossed that the passage will occur in early 2014. This is my view not the minister’s view,” she added.
She said the advances in technology and communication has given rise to a more global and empowered customer.
“Consumers are being encouraged by government regulators and industry associations to increase their knowledge and understanding of financial products, so you will be facing a more enlightened and knowledgeable customer,” Ho-Sing said.
She said when Howai introduced the Insurance Bill in the Parliament last year he promised to place a summary of the Bill on the government’s website.
“He says, and I quote, ‘The consumer will be aware of the new protection and regulatory measures that are put in the Insurance Bill’.”
Ho-Sing, who also spoke on how the bar has been raised with respect to qualifications, the assurance of insurance coverage and adequate disclosure and procedures for anti-money laundering, said if the insurance industry is to achieve success they must all prepare themselves.
“It can no longer be business as usual. The bar has been raised,” she pointed out.
Vice president of sales at Sagicor, Jacinto Martinez, who also spoke at the seminar, told those in attendance that although the current economy is less scarier than 2008 economy, the market is not the same as it was before the September 2008 global financial crisis.
“Despite the stabilisation that has occurred over the past five years the global economy has not yet recovered from the meltdown of the United States economy in 2008.
“The US economy is still drawing from the strength of the life support supplied by the bailout of the Federal reserve and has not yet rebuilt the momentum of pre-September 2008.
“The market is not back to normal, make no mistake.”
He said today’s world belongs to the knowledgeable and the nimble minded—know your clients, the law and the products, he said.