By Mellica McPherson-Ganda
The reality that there is a great chance that anyone, at any stage in their life can suffer a mishap, become incapable of performing their occupational duties, and as a result face financial hardship because of loss of income, struck a chord with those in attendance at a luncheon presentation that was hosted by Caribbean Insurance Limited, and Morgan White Group (MWG).
A panel of Morgan White Group executives informed the gathering at The Moorings Conference room on 6 September about an interesting insurance product that covers disabilities, final expenses (death related) and cancer expense. However, although the other product’ benefits were described by some as most interesting, the panel for a few minutes was mainly asked questions about its disability insurance.
The convincing points were mainly hammered by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MWG, David White who announced that the disability product is offered by their A-minus rated, BVI registered company AmFirst Insurance, which is based in Oklahoma, USA.
In his presentation and exclusive interview with The Island Sun newspaper the CEO disclosed that his company is keen on venturing into markets that are underserved or in need of the service that his company provides.
He further explained that the unique disability insurance package was tailored around a need that was observed. Mr. White said they were first operating with medical insurance but noticed that if a client got ill and was unable to work he/she ended up in a stressful financial situation: “When illness strikes your bills don’t stop they actually go up more.”
The CEO said that he observed that the disability insurance product was somewhat new to persons outside of the United States: “People, not only in the Caribbean and Latin America but outside of the United States know medical insurance very well. They know life insurance very well, but when you talk to them about income replacement or disability policy they kind of look at you funny; because it is not a product that a lot of people know about, and that is very interesting.”
He noted that most people have life insurance as opposed to disability insurance — which is a greater risk. He said disability is becoming a greater risk because some persons are unable to work. “The chances of you becoming disabled are greater at any stage of your working career than the chances of you dying. Although everybody has life insurance very few people have disability. One of the reason (why people don’t have disability insurance) is disability is a little more expensive, because the chances of it happening is greater…With disability the statistics tell us that people realize it happens, and they see it happen to other people; but they always think it’s going to happen to the other person and never happen to them,” Mr. White declared.
He was also keen to point out that the insurance does not only define disability as being a situation where one becomes paralyzed or lose limbs. Instead, he said, it could be anything that renders an individual incapable of performing the skills required in his/her job description. He noted that once proof is provided, persons are paid for nine months and if they are still disabled at the end of that period they are issued a cheque for a lump sum.
Mr. White also explained that one of the things his company brings to the table with both the cancer and the disability insurance is the return of premium. “We have a return of premium and if you don’t use the product within a certain period of time we will give you all your money back. That tends to make you feel better if you say well I’ll never have cancer, I’ll never be disabled ok fine, but why not have the product in case you do. You can have the money back that you have invested,” he announced.
The CEO concluded: “We have products that are new and a little different and we hope that the people would know about it. The problem is that sometimes people need what you have but they don’t know that it is available.”
Richard Eden, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Morgan White Group, and AMFirst Insurance holding said that the Group is proud of the fact that its insurance company is licensed in the BVI, and he announced that the company is very interested in doing more business here in the Territory. “We see a lot that is not offered, and we really think we can be of benefit to you, the people of the BVI.”
Mr. Eden said that the company has worked hard to build its financial reputation and noted that the AMFirst Insurance received rating of A-minus, which is excellent by A.M. Best. He also noted that Lloyd’s of London backs their product: “We are going to be around and we are financially strong and able,” he assured.
Katie Hughes the Caribbean Marketing Executive for MWG disclosed that the company officially began doing business in BVI in 2010 and she pointed out that Territory proved to be a good market for AMFirst Insurance.
In his brief remarks at the event Brian Jermyn, Managing Director of Caribbean Insurance Limited explained that Tuesday’s presentation luncheon was the first of its kind for the company and may become a regular activity.