Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 25th 2013 Contents The Guardian Group is the
biggest player in the
insurance player in the
Caribbean and, with
recent acquisitions and
its rebranding exercise,
expects solid growth into
the future, said the
insurance group s CEO Jeffrey Mack.
"We are either number one or number two
in all the markets. Here in T&T, Guardian
Life is by far the biggest insurance company.
As a matter of fact, we sell more individual
life insurance than all our competitors com-
bined. Guardian General is the market leader
with 35 per cent of the market. We are also
the largest indigenous insurance company in
the region. We are very clear in terms of mar-
ket share," he said.
Mack spoke to the Business Guardian at
the rebranding ceremony of Guardian Group
at its head office, Westmoorings.
The Guardian Group made three acquisi-
tions recently. The first one was Globe Insur-
ance Company which was completed October
Tolma Insurance Broker was another acqui-
sition in the Netherlands in December in
The third acquisition was valued at US$18
million and was completed in April 2013 when
the Guardian Group acquired Royal and Sun
Alliance (Antilles) in the Dutch Caribbean.
"The purpose of each was to support a
specific strategy we have. We want to make
sure we are number one or two in all the
markets we operate."
Mack said the company has moved from
number six in the Jamaican market to number
one after its acquisition there.
"In Jamaica, West Indies Alliance was only
number six in its market place which is a
very competitive marketplace. We felt to
enhance our position we needed to make an
acquisition. When Lascelles DeMercado put
Globe up for sale, we went after it aggressively
and we bought it. We got the approval from
the regulators to close on that in October.
When we combined that with Alliance, we
went from number six to number one."
He said the acquisition in the Netherlands
Antilles was part of an overall strategy the
group had and it was a solid "add-on acqui-
sition" for them.
"We have had a strategy in the Netherlands,
Fatum is in the Dutch Caribbean and they
are independent country in the Kingdom of
the Netherlands. We started a process about
three years ago called our Dutch co strategy
where we attempted on a very manageable
basis to expand into the Netherlands and
Tolma is part of that strategy. Tolma is not
an insurance company but a broker so that
provides us with risk-free income versus a
typical insurance business which has under-
writing risk to it," he said.
He said all of the three acquisitions are in
various stages of integration.
"We are confident that each one of those
entities will be accretive to earnings in the
first full year of ownership by Guardian Group.
He said in the group s first quarter results,
it did consolidate Globe Insurance Company
and Tolma and in the group s second quarter
Royal and Sun Alliance will be consolidat-
"Each one of those will show some prof-
itable accretion to our earnings."
Mack said given the nature of the insurance
industry, the depressed economic environ-
ment has not impacted negatively on the
group s financial performance.
"There is no doubt that it has been affected
but it is very interesting in that insurance is
a product that is somewhat not directly cor-
related to economic growth. People always
need to protect their assets especially more
so in tough economic times. There is some
elasticity to the demand in insurance but
people need it."
He said the insurance industry, and the
products and services it sells, are usually tied
to a growing middle class.
"Where it does affect growth is in devel-
oping markets where you have a developing
middle class: it is that middle class that starts
buying insurance. T&T and all our other mar-
kets are stable in that regard."
The Guardian Group has still been able to
grow by double digits in the local market.
"We will continue to do that in the near
and medium term," he added.
Mack said the company is looking at
expanding outside of the Caribbean.
"The number of consumers in the Dutch
and English-speaking region is only about
five or six million. Once we reach a certain
point of penetration, we will start looking
beyond the region. From a strategic stand-
point, what we are trying to do---in the next
two or three years--- is continue to consolidate
the Caribbean market."
In the medium and long term, the Guardian
Group wants to look at other larger emerging
"These include Latin America, with coun-
tries like Colombia and Chile, with popula-
tions the size of 30 million."
He expects customers to buy into the
rebranding and new name quickly.
"We did not rebrand to a totally different
name. We could have gone the route of Sagicor
where it was Mutual Insurance in Barbados
and totally changed its name. That takes a
long time for people to make the association.
But here we were building on the brand equity
of Guardian," he said.
Mack said with a unified group name, cus-
tomers could now "connect the dots" with
all the players within the group.
"Guardian General, Guardian Life, Guardian
Asset Management are all part of the Guardian
Group. It is building on a recognisable brand
but it is taking a slightly different approach
by helping people connect the dots."
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 2013 • WEEK FOUR
CEO Jeffrey Mack introduces...
• Guardian General
• Guardian Life
• Guardian Asset Management
It is very interesting
in that insurance is a
product that is
to economic growth.
CEO Jeffrey Mack
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