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Gov’t implements Insurance Tribunal for aggrieved residents

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith pictured with Chief Executive Officer of the BVI Financial Services Commission, Dr Robert Mathavious and members of the Insurance Tribunal. (Photo credit: GIS/Franklyn Skerritt)

The National Democratic Party government has implemented an Insurance Tribunal to investigate reports of unfairness by local insurers.

A government media release said the Tribunal will mediate between insurers and insured residents with the aim of “enabling an amicable settlement” between both parties.

The Tribunal will also be responsible for advising insured residents if they are unable to arrive at an amicable settlement with their insurer.

The Tribunal will be chaired by Eric Ball and was implemented under the Financial Services (Continuity of Business) Act, 2007.

The Tribunal was created to fast-track insurance settlements across the territory and will remain active until Premier Dr D Orlando Smith gives notice of termination.

According to the media release, the Premier will only give such an order when the Tribunal fulfils its mandate.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said recently: “There is an urgent need to get claims processed so residents can rebuild their homes and have safe housing for those that are still displaced, and for commercial properties to be restored to bring back services that have been disrupted.”

In the meantime, the Tribunal is being housed inside BVI Financial Services Commission at the Haycraft Building in Pasea Estate. Persons wishing to contact the Insurance Tribunal should address matters to the attention of to tribunal secretary, Rhonda Hodge-Smith at [email protected]

Following the hurricanes, several property owners have been complaining that they were being bullied and cheated by local insurance companies.

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22 Comments

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  1. vg resident says:

    Who do I contact to register a complaint?

  2. Reply says:

    Good move. Aggrieved insurers now have a common place to go to mediate their disputes where hopefully they can be fairly resolved without prejudice to either sides.

    • BVI lawyer says:

      I hope that you are right. But in order for a tribunal to be effective it needs to have good procedures, and seek to resolve disputes with a sense of expedition and urgency.

      If we get a bad tribunal it can be a real “own goal”. The resolution of disputes gets slowed down to a crawl, as neither party feels comfortable moving forward until the tribunal has finished deliberating on the issue. That just makes the problem worse rather than better.

      There will be a lot of pressure on this tribunal to deliver, and to deliver quickly.

      • Legal huh? says:

        For the tribunal to be effective, their decisions need to be binding on the parties involved and enforced by the government. Second the tribunal needs to be totally objective and have no connection whatsoever to the parties involved. That being said, where is anyone going to find members to sit on the tribunal that is not connected to the insurance companies or the insured. The island wreaks of corruption. The insurance companies are protected by the government officials. The tribunal that has been formed is just a dog and pony show for the people. It’s as ineffective as the government is.

  3. umm says:

    will the pay for all the 3rd party vehicles that get damaged by Irmaria those ppl were still paying insurance every year.

  4. house says:

    If an insured house get damaged the owner will get insurance but what about the stuff that get damaged inside they were not insured BUT the tenants were paying to live under a shed so someone have to pay them back insurance supposed to because they find the house good thats why they insured it if the roof was good it would not have blown off so tenants can sue they were paying to live in a covered house

    • Oh says:

      Its called contents insurance and if you dont have it then its a complete loss. Nobody owes you s*^%, sorry!

    • @house says:

      A pity you lost your things but you need to educate yourself. You cannot blame anyone if you did not have ontents insurance. Some of the most structurally sound houses were damaged. Seek legal advice but I dont believe you have a case with suing.

    • @house says:

      Well sue Irma since she took the house roof off. I have never read such BS! That Hurricane had recorded winds up to 200mph and youre here complaining that the roof shouldnt have come off? The only people you should be suing are your Parents and Teachers for obvious reasons.

    • Drummer says:

      house,

      So if you uninsured cat with 9 lives got blown out of your house, do the insurance company have to pay for that cat’s lost life?

      I remember during a past hurricane, some uninsured persons wanted to picket one of the insurance companies to pay them. Their logic was that the insurance company was making huge profits from BVI people. Since they were BVI people they should still be paid, even if they were uninsured. Yes, adult people said that.

      Luckily someone with sense convinced them to ditch the plan to avoid everlasting embarrassment.

  5. Well Well says:

    And we really need to get back on track with building before the hurricane season starts . The insurance companies wastiwasting time and playing with people lives.

  6. Many says:

    know that the insurance industry is one that practices unfairness and deceitfulness as a normal, moral, legal business right…..

    Those are the foundation trade marks of capitalism and business in general.

    Capitalism needs reshaping in the interest of the many and not the few, and business must be highly governed, regulated and policed by government for fairness of pricing especially.

    It is the only hope the poor man and consumer have that will ever bring mercy from the sucking of his blood.

    Fifteen years with a company and it uses a “technical” term like, “third party” to give not a penny back in a time of catastrophic disaster and loss. That is sanctioned legal thievery.

    Such is the natural practices of the insurance and business industry??

  7. Waiting says:

    Email address came back UNDELIVERABLE!

  8. Albion says:

    That sums up everything you need to know about the FSC’s insurance division.

  9. Wendy says:

    Uh oh
    Not a good start.
    And specifically,who are the members of this tribunal?

  10. Wendy says:

    For those of us who do not know the individuals in the photo that are members of the tribunal,will someone please list their names. Thanks

  11. legal eye says:

    I do applaud the Government’s imitative to create a tribunal but am confused why it’s mandate should be limited to matters relating to the past hurricanes.It is my view that the tribunal should be given a 3 years life so that it can also address disputes to maritime, motor accidents,personal injuies,and aviation claims also.I do believe that insurance law matters calls for experts in that field in order for an objective assessment can be formed as to whether the insureds or the insurers are wrong or right….My say

  12. legal eye says:

    I do applaud the Government’s imitative to create a tribunal but am confused why it’s mandate should be limited to matters relating to the past hurricanes.It is my view that the tribunal should be given a 3 years life at first instance and continuing so that it can also address disputes to maritime, motor accidents,personal injuies,and aviation claims also.I do believe that insurance law matters calls for experts in that field in order for an objective assessment can be formed as to whether the insureds or the insurers are wrong or right….the tribunal should be permanent since those insurance matters that I have mentioned above is a coninous feature in the Territory and in such circumstances an Insurance tribunal should be permanent….my say

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