While it was noted that there are still insurance related complaints and qualms, Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith is singing the praise of the Insurance Tribunal that was established following the 2017 hurricanes.
After the 2017 calamities many residents received second shockers when they learnt that their properties were underinsured and others were extremely stressed to note that they were meeting red tapes and brick walls in terms of accessing insurance funds to repair their damaged homes.
These situations prompted the government to establish the Insurance Tribunal which Premier Smith announced on 1 October has been doing well. Hon. Smith made the comment during the NDP Radio show.
“I have spoken to many people who have said that the Tribunal has been very helpful in assisting many people to get their claims sorted out.”
The caller to the show who broached the matter of insurance also announced that the rates of the insurance seemed to have increased: “It is true that the cost for insurance has gone up tremendously…it is cause for concern. In fact, for many people who have small homes etc., but it is a matter that I have had some discussions with the Financial Services Commission,” Hon. Smith said.
The formation of the Tribunal was announced by Premier Smith in the House of Assembly on 14 December 2017. At that time he announced that the mandate of the Tribunal will be to support residents wishing to investigate, report or have some mediation before claims are finalised.
During that sitting Hon. Smith acknowledged that there has been insurance related public outcry: “We buy insurance for that rainy day Madame Speaker, for that time when a significant event happens and we want to safeguard ourselves. We purchase insurance to protect our investment. September 6 and Hurricane Irma was more than a rainy day Madam Speaker. It is a day that still haunts many residents.”
The Tribunal came after the House of Assembly on 4 December passed the Financial Services Business Continuity Act 2017 that contains a provision for the establishment of an Insurance Tribunal which will be asking the Financial Services Commission to complete a review of the practices of insurance companies and banks following the passage of the August floods and Hurricanes Irma and Maria.