The Insurance Industry is indisputably one of the most important financial sectors in the Caribbean, managing US billions of dollars in assets. The fact that the ripple effects of the collapse, between 2009 and 2011, of two of the largest insurers in the region – British American Insurance Company Ltd. and Colonial Life Insurance Company Ltd. – are still being felt today, is but one example of how intertwined the insurance industry is with Caribbean business and the society at large. Insurers are increasingly involved in other industries, such as consumer finance, real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, distribution and communications. They represent one of the largest institutional investor groups in the Caribbean, and are one of the most popular choices for individual investors looking for retirement savings plans and other long-term investments.
As insurers become more complex and their operations span more industries, the challenge that is becoming more apparent is the need to better anticipate long-term changes. Ageing populations and the accompanying health risks, as well as climate change and the increased frequency of weather-related disasters, are two of the most pressing issues being faced by this generation of insurers. It has also become more critical that insurers understand trends in consumer markets. Consumers, especially millennials, are increasingly demanding online services, faster response times and more knowledgeable financial advisors.
Innovative insurers are already allowing online and automated premium payments and digitizing their claim procedures, but more can be done. Mining their datasets would potentially uncover lucrative insights that could lead to the creation of more innovative products and services, as well as assist financial advisors with selecting the right products and services for the right clients. If insurers are to compete credibly in non-insurance industries, they also have to ensure that they understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how these industries operate. As the CLICO failure, in particular, highlighted, insurers must learn to successfully read these industries in order to make smart, sustainable investments. Antilles Economics can help. From intelligence gathering to big data to economic and industry forecasts, we provide a wide range of services that insurers can access to navigate their increasingly complicated business environment.