Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 30th 2014 Contents BG6 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 2014 • WEEK FIVE
Since acquiring Gulf Insurance Ltd
one year ago, Suriname-based
Assuria NV has had to inject
more than US$2 million in capital
in order to fulfil the statutory
requirements stipulated under the Insurance
Section 25 states that general and life insur-
ance companies should have more capital.
Also, to ensure that insurance companies have
the adequate liquidity to take on risk greater
than $15 million, Section 110 stipulates a capital
adequacy and liquidity test must be done.
Suniel Nandpersad, deputy director, foreign
operations, Assuria, said the company is deter-
mined to gain Central Bank of T&T s trust by
fulfilling all its statutory requirements.
"Our biggest focus is now the Central Bank,
get the trust back at the Central Bank for Gulf.
Gulf had some challenges in the past now we
are in close relation with the Central Bank.
They are demanding to fix the statutory fund
and deposit requirements; we ve done that.
"We ve injected US$2 million again as capital
injection. This is a second injection due to the
new requirements of the Central Bank, that
there must be more capital injection. It is a
statutory requirement. Central Bank must
receive that money. They are going to invest
it in government bonds so that Central Bank
has the trust in Gulf and Assuria, that we are
complying due to the act."
Nandpersad was last Friday delivering the
feature address at the agency conference hosted
at the rooftop of Gulf Insurance Ltd, 1 Gray
Street, St Clair. He spoke to the Business
Guardian after the function.
Doing business for the Suriname-based
company in T&T s market has been met with
some obstacles, including overcoming the cul-
ture barrier, but Nandpersad is not daunted.
The Assuria experience with Central Bank of
T&T has been stringent.
"The way you have to deal with the Central
Bank, I think it s due to what happened with
Clico. The CBTT is pressuring us a lot. We
prepare a business plan and we think we have
fulfilled all the needs. We have put in our
business plan. We got the feeling that CBTT
push us. I think we have a good relationship
with CBTT, we communicate, they ask us to
do something and we are fulfilling it. I think
that s the main thing, how the CBTT is working
here in T&T, it s quite different than in Suri-
name. I won t say better or worse."
Despite Pan American signalling its intention
to create more products and Guardian Holdings
Ltd having rebranded itself, Nandpersad said
Assuria is polishing a winning product to
satisfy the demands in the market.
"Assuria and Gulf see competition as holding
ourselves sharp . Competition is good. We are
not just coming here in the market and exist
for awhile; we are here to stay. We see com-
petition as one of the advantages of being in
the T&T market. We are seeing a lot of changes
Competition works well for the customer.
During his address at the agency conference,
Nandpersad told Gulf s agency leaders they
should make the effort to close the gap between
the lack of confidence in buying insurance
and actual investments in insurance.
"Closing that gap needs to be a priority for
all of us. We have a shared agenda, we all want
customers to see the value in insurance and
buy it with confidence. This is not the time
to be complacent or accept the status quo. It
is a time to learn and understand how and
why things can go wrong and work collectively
to put that right.
"We all know these are testing times, but
merely recognising that isn t enough. The
future viability of your businesses and the
sector as a whole will be defined by how you
respond to these challenges."
He suggested there was need to reframe
the discussion about the role of insurance
representatives in the financial system. He
said they should "focus on the value" they
add to their customers as agents, and con-
centrate on what is important to the cus-
Asked whether Assuria is looking to acquire
any of Clico s business, he said: "No, we are
not interested in Clico s business. We are just
interested in customers and customers having
trust in Gulf."
Stating that Assuria is looking for other
opportunities in the T&T market, Nandpersad
said th e company is looking to offer life
insurance in the form of a package.
"People need life insurance. We all know
what happened to Clico. We have to get the
trust back up."
The life insurance market is important to
"We do think if you have customers at
the general side, you can provide your product
assortment with life insurance. They are going
to need it.
"Nowadays, we use the opportunity to
serve the customers. They are looking for life
insurance, but they can t have it at Gulf. You
have to provide them with that; it has to go
hand in hand, otherwise if they go for life
insurance to another company. It can end up
where they pull out the general insurance
from you also. That is why we see life as one
of our opportunities to expand here."
At the agents conference, employees were
awarded for their long service to the company.
Among them was Saith Krishenlal, who start-
ed working at Gulf Insurance on September
16, 1985. He started in the company as an
agent, but is now a sales executive.
Reacting to his long service award for 29
years of service, Krishenlal said he did not
expect to get an award, but humbly accepted
it. Having been at the company for more
than two decades, he believes Gulf is on an
upward path in the T&T market with Assuria
holding the reins of leadership.
Assuria NV questions Central Bank
wanting US$2m in capital
Gulf Insurance CEO, John Gonzales, left, compliance manager, Leon Williams, and underwriting manager, Oswin Hosang share a few
laughs with, award recipient for 29 years' long service with Gulf Insurance, Krishenlal Saith, center, before the agencies' luncheon held
on the rooftop of Gulf Insurance Building, St. Clair. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
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