Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2014 Contents SBG4 NEWS
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 7 • 2014
As the Pan American Life
Group (PALIG) moves into
its third year of operation
in T&T, Jose Suquet, chair-
man of the board, has said
he expects the Caribbean
division of PALIG s business, particularly in
T&T, to grow in 2015, as the company con-
tinues to entrench its presence in the mar-
Suquet said the Fitch Rating Agency con-
firmed PALIG s A (solid) rating and com-
mended the operation of the Latin American
and Caribbean branch of the company.
"I am happy to report that the integration
has set in and revenues continue to grow very
nicely. We have a completely revamped com-
pany, having introduced more technology and
systems and we have hired a completely new
management team. I think the combination
of these activities has shown our agents and
agency managers, that we are serious about
this, that we are here to stay."
The PALIG chairman sat down with the
Sunday BG along with Bill Shultz, CEO and
managing director, Caribbean; Bruce Parker,
senior vice president, global life insurance,
and Robert DiCianni, senior vice president,
international, to discuss the company s per-
formance as well as its plans for the new year.
According to Suquet, for the year to date,
PALIG s Caribbean sales are up 27 per cent,
this country s life sales have increased by 40
per cent, its personal accident sales have
increased by 25 per cent and its group sales
36 per cent.
"We ve also grown our premiums by 50
per cent in the Caribbean since we took over,"
But this wasn t easy.
The executives acknowledged there was a
long, hard climb to securing their ever increasing
foothold in the Caribbean market.
DiCianni recounted that while the Caribbean
represented a miniscule portion of ALICO s
and MetLife s business, it is 12-13 per cent of
PALIG s business. He said they were making
upgrades to assets, all while keeping operations
going and retraining the sales force.
"Normally, when you make an acquisition
like this, you might first say, let s work on the
infrastructure, work on the facilities, get the
buildings up, get the systems in, based on that
new system we ll get our service standards up
and then we ll get out to market. We re doing
all of that at the same time, said DiCianni.
"It is like changing the wheels on a speeding
bus while on the freeway," said Suquet, who
is also president and CEO of the group.
The hard work is paying off, Parker said.
"The brand is also beginning to resonate with
"People are comfortable with the brand, they
understand the brand, they recognize the brand."
The executives said they were able to do this
through the company s enterprise risk man-
agement system. One component of this system
has already garnered the company recognition
in its native US.
Suquet said Pan American has become the
prime example for US recovery after a disaster
for its ability to rebound from Hurricane Katrina
in 2005. But the PALIG chairman said this is
only one aspect of their enterprise risk man-
"The first thing is that it starts with the cul-
ture and the tone at the top and this is some-
thing that is very near and dear to my heart.
This is something that is near and dear to my
heart and we look at all aspects of the business,"
There is also an operational risk aspect to
Suquet said these would include issues like
cyber security and service delivery. The exec-
utives consider service delivery to be one of
the key elements in the difference the company
was able to make in the marketplace.
"When we took over, just about every aspect
of service delivery standard was red. In these
types of things, red is not good and green is
very good.Then they started trending yellow,
and now, just about all of them are green, which
is a very good thing."
Capital management and product develop-
ment were also other facets of the enterprise
risk management plan.
"I think it would be helpful to see how the
things we look at from an enterprise, risk per-
spective. We take it very seriously. We have
seen too many companies sell, sell, sell, sell
and five years later they ask, why did we sell
so much of that, because they had wrong
assumptions, they didn t check what the actual
facts were versus the pricing assumption for
the product," said Suquet.
Given the company s success with life and
group services in this marketplace, the exec-
utives said they plan to introduce four new
systems in order to service it better.
The first is a general ledger and accounting
system called CODA, which align financial and
accounting reporting at the company level.
"This will be very seamless and will increase
productivity quite a bit," said Suquet.
The other two systems will improve the
delivery of two other insurance products that
they offer throughout the Latin American and
"Finally, the fourth system is that we are
replacing the group employee benefit system
that is quite antiquated and we are going to
introduce the system that currently administers
all of our employee benefits through Latin
America. That involves a significant amount
of training for our employees," said Suquet.
The PALIG chairman said the investment
in the company s human resource is constant
with staff from its New Orleans headquarters
coming to T&T regularly to conduct training.
Bill Shultz, CEO, outlined other plans for
the company in 2015.
"We are seeing opportunities for business,
on the individual side and growing that busi-
ness, as well on the employee benefits side.
We have been able to confirm business with
a number of companies that operate in Trinidad,
or other countries and a number of them oper-
ate throughout the region."
The execs said the company expects to do
$745 million in revenue of which the Caribbean
will make up $85 million.
There are plans for the coming year to
increase this the between $98 and $100 mil-
Pan American looks
forward to bright 2015
Caribbean sales up 27 per cent
Robert DiCianni, left,
senior vice president,
international; Bill Shultz,
CEO and managing
director, Caribbean; Jose
Suquet, board chairman,
and Bruce Parker, senior
vice president, global life
PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS
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