SIBA, CBCS to discuss need for adjustments to insurance

PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Insurance Brokers Association (SIBA) has requested a meeting with the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) to discuss how the insurance sector can function more effectively after a disaster.

SIBA wants to establish a functional disaster plan with the various stakeholders which will automatically go into effect after a catastrophe, said SIBA president Neil Henderson.
“The plan should incorporate sound checks and balances to ensure that the weaker party (the client) is protected from anything ranging from possible misinterpretation of policy wording or misrepresentation of the adjuster, the broker or the insurance company,” Henderson said.
He said SIBA had fought for regulation and legislation after Hurricane Luis in 1995. “We are confident that the scheduled meeting of May 8, 2018, will jumpstart another phase in improving the functioning of the sector,” he said.
The policy wording (fine print) of insurance companies must coincide with the re-insurance treaties and “facultative placement” to prevent some of the problems experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, he said. “Adjusters should refrain from having strong opinions about the interpretation of the policy wording, and focus primarily on assessing the loss.”
Some adjusters, without training or experience because of the magnitude of the loss, are put in a position to make judgment calls on settlements that adversely affect the financial position of clients for generations to come, he said.
The latter also holds true when an adjuster misrepresents the insurance company. SIBA is concerned that when the dust settles, brokers will have a huge challenge rebuilding confidence in customers for the need of insurance.
“We are further hopeful that Parliament will rise to the occasion and play its role in amending or implementing legislation to facilitate better supervision by the CBCS. We count on the full support of insurance companies to bring forward critical areas that will aid them in providing improved products at a reasonable cost,” he said.
Due to the increased cost of insurance since Irma, SIBA will seek to establish a pool for homeowners with little or no means to have coverage for at least the first US $25,000. This should count for family dwellings only. The premiums can be paid on a solidarity basis while Government can consider tax-cuts for entities/persons willing to assist a homeowner with the payment, said Henderson.
“While we can identify shortcomings of all relevant stakeholders, SIBA deems it more important to focus on the needed changes that will result in less human suffering after such events like we have experienced with Irma,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald