BVI News

41 complaints settled through Insurance Tribunal, insurance laws need updating

A section of the main island of Tortola. (Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News)

The NDP government-sanctioned Insurance Tribunal has said the territory’s insurance laws need to be improved to offer greater protection to insured residents.

The tribunal made that assessment on Thursday; an entire year of conducting mediations between insurance companies and aggrieved insured residents.

“The insurance laws must be updated to cover a wider range of insurance issues. That is it in a nutshell. And when that is done, you can balance the insurance laws against the insurance policies which will give flexibility for the insurer and also the insurance company,” said tribunal member and retired banking and compliance officer, Icis Malone.

55 complaints mediated

The Dr D Orlando Smith-led administration implemented the tribunal after the September 2017 hurricanes to investigate reports of unfairness by local insurers, and to enable amicable settlements between those insurers and their insured clients. As at December 31 last year, the tribuanal mediated some 55 insurance complaints and more are still pouring in.

Forty-one of those complaints have been successfully mediated, six were dismissed/withdrawn, one was incomplete, six are pending, and one has been refered to arbitration.

Those claims ranged between $2,546 and $2.57 million.

Majority extremely please after mediation

Chairman of the tribunal, Jack Husbands, told members of the media that majority of the once-aggrieved insured residents were highly pleased with the mediation.

“People don’t get everything they want but we think that people have been generally happy. People have come back to commend us, some insured people whose claims we’ve settled have come back to thank us. I think we’ve received letters in some cases [and] we’ve even received flowers as well.”

The insurance companies involved in these disputes include Colonial Insurance which had two complaints against them, the Insurance Compnay of the West Indies which had one complaint, NAGICO which had the single largest number of complaints — 41, and Caribbean Insures Limited which had a total of 11 complaints against them.

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12 Comments

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  1. Robbed says:

    In most parts of the civilised world the main offending insurance company would be banned from ever trading again but vested interest within Tortola will ensure they carry on in the same disgusting way. Even daring to spend money on advertising that should have gone to claimants who have lost everything.

    Like 11
  2. Good says:

    Yet you have Fahie and others spewing nonsense about insurance. There are systems in place to deal with grievances, let them take their course.

    Like 9
    Dislike 5
    • Anonymous says:

      There are no laws and no protection from the criminal activities of the insurance companies. Companies like this look to do business in the third world like the BVI because there is no consumer protection. In the civilized world there are laws in place where these criminal activities would result in harsh penalties and loss of licenses to do business. Look at the government building. Insured for over $30 mil and the government received a third of the insured amount. Now the local population will have to pay the rest. Does that work for the BVI?

      Like 8
      Dislike 3
  3. Iraqski says:

    Name them. Name the insurance companies who were and are still operating here and acting unethically and immorally. We the people want to know so we can boycott them.

    • Not2Sure says:

      They did name them – read the article.

      Of the 55 complaints, 41 of them were against Nagico. That is around 80% of the complaints.

      I wonder what steps the FSC’s Insurance Division took to investigate such a startlingly high number of complaints against just one insurance company.

      Probably nothing.

      Like 9
      Dislike 1
  4. SMH says:

    Its so coincedential how everything falling into Play during an upcoming Election!

  5. Richard says:

    41 you say????? And a representative approve dentist trade license for one insurer to now pull out people teeth. Wicked dirty set of people. H**l don’t have a bottom for you set. Fire bun!!!!!

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  6. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Clearly, there was a breakdown in the business relationship betwen insurers and the insureds. Was the breakdown due to lack of trust, misunderstanding, deceit, greed, malpractice, unreasonable expectations, breach of contract, poor/inadequate operational policies, weak enforcement/oversight of policies, cozy relationship between insurers and government, scam, poor documenation/submittals …….etc? Whatever the reason(s), it was a double whammy (storms and slow settlements of claims) for the insureds. Why did it have to take a tribunal/mediation to make insureds whole? A tribunal should have been a last resort, not one of the first genuine effort to make insureds whole.

    Did the insurers clearly explain the perils/downside/risks of being underinsured? Was the infrequency of major hurricanes hitting the BVI caused a high level of complacency and was a factor in insureds willingness to take greater risks/exposure, ie underinsurance? Was the high level of complacency among insureds made it easier for agents to push underinsurance? Was the relative high cost of insurance a major factor in insureds opting to underinsurance? Was the low-medium probability of a total loss a major factor in insureds opting for underinsurance?

    What lessons were learnt, if any, and what is government plan of action for reforming the industry for the benefit of insureds, insurers and the community? Should insurance reform be a top priority for the next government? Yes. Should government establish a cross functional ad hoc committee on insurance reform to report out in 90 days? Yes.

  7. BuzzBvi says:

    Not surprising that N—– came out badly.
    Not A Good Insurance CO.
    It is time for the FSC to take their insurance licence away. On good standing alone they are questionable.

  8. It's About Time says:

    I still can’t understand why the VIP is advertising that nothing at all was done to protect locals?

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  9. Tribuna says:

    I had terrible experience with one of the insurance companies – yes, that one – and I have to say the Insurance Tribunal helped me out ALOT.
    They explained my status in relation to the law. They urged me to lodge a complaint on the basis of my description.
    They looked into my case in great detail and advised me on how to communicate with the adjuster.
    Eventually they got me on the phone while the whole Tribunal sat and questioned me in detail, correcting me when wrong but advising me on what was right about my complaint.
    They then called the head of the company and urged him to settle this case rapidly and fairly.
    The next day, the adjuster called and offered me a “one day only offer”. “Agree to this amount today and we will settle.”
    Of course, the amount offered was same as I had been asking for for 6 months.
    So I agreed, got the money and moved on to the rebuilding phase, finally.
    Did the Tribunal help and did they seem fair and balanced?
    Absolutely 100%.
    Can’t praise them enough.

  10. FACTS says:

    Andrew want to lead the country but do not take time to his research before making statements that are not correct. I think the VIP party especially the leader does feel that we the people have no sense of thinking, no sense of purpose and no sense of understanding. They feel that once they campaign nasty by misleading people people will continue to study

    Like 3
    Dislike 2

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