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Research and Markets: Caribbean Insurance Report 2010.

DUBLIN -- Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/c7ab34/caribbean_insuranc) has announced the addition of the "Caribbean Insurance Report 2010" report to their offering.

Business Monitor International's Caribbean Insurance Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, insurance associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Caribbean's insurance industry.

As a regional market for insurance, the Caribbean remains something of a backwater, notwithstanding that the combined population of the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago is in the vicinity of 16mn, and all countries are able to exploit their geographic proximity to the US. In many instances, non-life and life insurance remains underdeveloped in terms of the metrics that the publisher favours (nonlife penetration and life density respectively). The exceptions (eg non-life segment of Jamaica and the life segment of Trinidad & Tobago) are few.

Perhaps for this reason, the major multinational insurance companies have little representation on the ground. AIG has small operations in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Spains MAPFRE, which owns substantial businesses across Latin America, is present in the Dominican Republic. However, these are the exceptions that make the rule. In general, it is local institutions like Seguros Banreservas in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica International Insurance in Jamaica or RoyalStar in the Bahamas or regional groups such as the Trinidad & Tobago-based Guardian Holdings or the Barbados-based Sagicor Financial that dominate.

The competitive landscape has been complicated by the financial problems of Trinidad & Tobago-based Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) and British American Insurance Company (BAICO). These were key elements of CL Financial, the country's largest conglomerate, which was essentially nationalised by the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago in January 2009. CL Financial had run into serious liquidity problems in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. At October 2009, the central bank indicated that it was committed to supporting the continued operations of CLICO and BAICO, notwithstanding that the process of orderly disposal of other assets of CL Financial is taking place more slowly than expected. The central banks long-term plan is for CLICO to be privatised by way of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Trinidad & Tobago stock exchange. Prior to the crisis, CLICO and BAICO collectively had been one of the largest regional insurers.

As is the case in other parts of the world, premium growth appears to have been resilient over the last year or so, as is indicated by the following table. However, the insurers face several challenges. A Deteriorating Economic Outlook

Mid-2009 reports from Sagicor Financial and Guardian Holdings indicate that the management's are concerned about the prospects for economic growth in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and elsewhere in the region. This is likely to have an impact on non-life premiums, especially in non-motor related lines. The slippage in the Jamaican dollar is the main reason for the weakness in projected premiums in Jamaica. Downgrading Of Sovereign Risk By Major Ratings Agencies

The insurance companies are non-voluntary owners of bonds issued by the governments of their home countries. As the major agencies have downgraded the ratings (or outlooks) of regional countries, the values of the insurance companies bond portfolios have suffered. Sagicor Financial, for example, has itself been downgraded because of the cutting in Barbados sovereign risk rating. Competition From Other Centres

Of the five countries profiled, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have not enjoyed the long-term political and financial stability that is necessary to develop a substantial offshore financial services sector. Trinidad & Tobago (like Curaao, which is not profiled in this report) clearly has been sufficiently stable for large indigenous institutions (such as CLICO and its parent, CL Financial) to flourish: however, economic development has been driven overwhelmingly by the energy (and related) sectors. By contrast, the Bahamas and Barbados have enjoyed significant success in developing financial services. The Bahamas is a long-established leader in offshore trusts and private banking and a successful (if newer) player in hedge fund administration and domiciliation. Detailed estimates of the size of Barbados offshore captive insurance community are few and far between, but indicate that annual premiums amount to about US$2bn. However, the Bahamas and Barbados face significant competition from nearby centres that are well established such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (in fund domiciliation and offshore banking) Bermuda (in insurance). The premiums of Bermudas captives, for instance, amount to US$12bn or so. In estimating the development of the Barbados captives, the publisher has assumed that their premiums have over recent years moved in line with their Bermuda counterparts.

Catastrophe Risk All five countries profiled in this report are prone to hurricanes, notwithstanding that non-life insurers can and do lay-off risk with reinsurers.

Lack Of Impetus For Growth Of Life Insurance As the publisher noted in 2008, there does not seem to be a clear reason why life insurance should develop as a major channel for organised savings in the region.

Key Topics Covered:

The Sector At A Glance

* Table: The Bahamas Insurance Sector At A Glance

* Table: Barbados Insurance Sector At A Glance

* Table: The Dominican Republics Insurance Sector At A Glance

* Table: The Jamaican Insurance Sector At A Glance

* Table: Trinidad And Tobagos Insurance Sector At A Glance

* Table: Insurance Premiums At A Glance, 2008 And 2009 (US$mn)

Key Features Of This Report

* SWOT Analysis

* Global Outlook

* Projections And Forecasts

* Projections And Drivers Of Growth

* Macroeconomic Outlooks

* Insurance Business Environment Ratings

* Company Profiles

* Country Snapshots: Demographic Data

Companies Mentioned:

* Grupo Gloria,

* AIG

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/c7ab34/caribbean_insuranc
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Publication:Business Wire
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 3, 2010
Words:923
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