PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – It is all well and good rhetoric for the Head of insurance company NAGICO Imran McSood Amjad to say the Ombudsman should get more involved in insurance disputes. It is sad and misleading of him when it is very clear the Ombudsman’s legal mandate is that of the defender of the St. Maarten’s Constitution.
Residents can file complaints against government, government-owned companies and other entities with the Ombudsman. What residents cannot do is file a complaint against NAGICO, a private company.
The Ombudsman’s other legally mandated duty is to review laws passed by Parliament and policies of government. Laws in contravention of the Constitution can be brought by the Ombudsman before the Constitutional Court.
Under both of the Ombudsman’s legally ascribed tasks, NAGICO, a privately owned company, does not fall. It is therefore very cunning of Mr. Amjad to try to shift focus from his company’s delinquent and very questionable behaviour in settling claims by invoking the name of the Ombudsman unless he considers NAGICO a government-owned or related company.
What perhaps Mr. Amjad intended was to call on clients to use mediators, people legally appointed by the Joint Court of the Dutch Caribbean that are empowered to sit with parties to come to an amiable, binding settlement. This is a short and less expensive process than filing a court case.
The difference between the ombudsman and a mediator is vast. Calling out the Ombudsman when it must be know by a savvy businessman like Mr. Amjad that there is no legal basis for the Ombudsman to step in seems like a off-hand way of calling out government.
Eleven days into the hurricane season find many residents still hurdled under canvas and tarpaulin, praying their precious few possessions, saved from Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the heavy rains of January and February, don’t get further damaged by NAGICO’s reluctance to pay their claim or that of their landlord.
The rebuilding of Princess Juliana International Airport, a main part needed to build St. Maarten back better, is a hostage of NAGICO. The people with policies from NAGICO are hostages. St. Maarten’s progress on a local level in people’s homes and an international level in the airport and other business are barred by NAGICO.
NAGICO policy holders who are experiencing untold and unimaginable stress and abuse from this, sad to say, St. Maarten-based company are encouraged to file complaints with the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten.
The Central Bank is the correct entity to deal with NAGICO.
Do not be misled by the propaganda by Mr. Amjad about the Ombudsman’s supposed role in getting insurance claims settled. The more complaints filed with the Central Bank the more likely it will be that an investigation into the true reason NAGICO is reluctant to settle claims will be conducted.
Such an investigation would look into the true solvency (money NAGICO has pr does not have) to settle claims.