Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2013 Contents BG12 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2013 • WEEK THREE
New player to T&T s insurance
industry, Assuria NV, believes
that corporate governance
should be part of a company s
culture and not something
mandated by regulators.
Stephen Smit, chief executive officer of
Assuria NV, said trends are showing that
companies are taking corporate governance
seriously and shareholders are starting to
demand it from companies in which they
invest. He contends that corporate gover-
nance is like a preventative tool.
"Relationships between chief executive
officers and owners is intertwining. Corporate
governance is important because you should
prevent things from happening which hap-
pened. We (Assuria) learnt also from what
happened outside of Suriname. In all the
companies which we (Assuria) have an inter-
est in. I am also a board member in all those
companies, Corporate governance in all those
companies is an important thing we as a
board try to put in place."
Laws which are lagging behind would
always be a challenge which regulators face
as well as staffing issues.
"You see that regulators are getting more
important, if you see the staffing of regulators
- Central Banks and so, they are getting
more people working for them to look after
implementing the rules and doing on site
inspection. Everywhere in the world you see
those bodies, regulators, Central Banks are
making use of the instruments which the
laws enable them to have good oversight."
Smit said it is also the responsibility of
a "good board" to appoint members who
embrace good governance.
He spoke to Business Guardian earlier this
month at a ceremony to announce that the
central banks in T&T and Suriname had
given the nod for Assuria to acquire Trinidad-
based Gulf Insurance Ltd held at the T&T
Chamber of Industry and Commerce office,
Columbus Circle, Westmoorings.
Assuria is the largest Suriname-based
insurance company with assets exceeding
The acquisition of Gulf Insurance Ltd
means Assuria had deepened its footprint
New Gulf Insurance owner:
should not be regulated
Standard & Poors Rating Agency has placed
Sagicor Life and Sagicor Finance on Credit-
Watch with negative implications because of
the inability of the Barbados-based insurer
Sagicor to reduce its property and casualty
business by selling its U.K.-based subsidiary,
Sagicor at Lloyd s.
The rating agency has signalled that it would
be prepared to downgrade the financial insti-
tution if it does not sell Sagicor at Lloyds
within three months.
In assessing Sagicor Life as BB+ Sagicor
Finance as BB rating (CreditWatch with neg-
ative implications), Standard & Poors said:
"If Sagicor completes the sale in the following
three months, we could affirm the ratings on
the company. We would downgrade Sagicor
if it fails to do so."
Following is the statement from Standard
"On June 13, 2013, Standard & Poor s Ratings
Services placed its BB+ financial strength
and counterparty credit ratings on Sagicor Life
Inc. and its BB rating on Sagicor Finance
Ltd. s $150 million, 10-year senior unsecured
notes on CreditWatch with negative implica-
"Our ratings incorporate our expectations
that Sagicor will be able to significantly reduce
its property and casualty (P&C) business. So
far, the company failed to sell Sagicor at Lloyd s,
which specializes in P&C, but the company
is still pursuing the sale.
"We would downgrade the company if the
sale doesn t materialize over the next three
months. Based on our analysis, if the sale is
not completed within that period, our capital
adequacy calculations will erode and the com-
pany s bottom-line results will continue to
suffer losses in this business.
"If the sale is completed, our capital cal-
culations and operating performance should
remain in line with our expectations, and we
could affirm the rating. However, due to the
company s large exposure to Jamaica
(CCC+/Stable/C), which recently restructured
its debt amid a stalled economy, the outlook
will most likely remain negative.
"We expect to resolve the CreditWatch on
Sagicor within the next three months. We
could downgrade the company if it fails to
formalize the sale during this timeframe. On
the other hand, if this transaction is completed
we could affirm the ratings."
Sagicor faces ratings downgrade
Stephen Smit, chief executive officer of Assuria NV
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