Underinsured Problem Needs Ad Hoc Legislation: Insurance Tribunal Says


The Insurance Tribunal that Government appointed after the 2017 catastrophic disasters to address public concerns relating to insurance claims, processing and settlements told the media that they are still deliberating and persons are still contacting the Tribunal for assistance. It was disclosed that the Tribunal has had to explain the issue of underinsurance which following the disasters became a traumatic subject for insured persons.

 During the press conference on 31 January the Tribunal spokespersons noted that it has been addressing matters relating to the inconsistencies in relations to costs of damages and settlements. It was stated that the body since it convened received and investigated reports from persons who are aggrieved, mediated between insurers and the insured, and facilitated amicable settlements between the two parties.

 Chairman of the Insurance Tribunal Jack Husbands explained that he was unable to delve into various details relating to the matters that were before the Tribunal. He explained, “We don’t want to prejudice any report that we might be handing before the deliberations have come to an end. We certainly don’t want to prejudice the actions that the Commission may take as well. We don’t want to go on record and say something that will not be borne out by final report or by the commission because before the commission takes enforcement action it would carry out investigation.”

 Nonetheless, Husbands said that the Tribunal is concerned about the concept of underinsurance — a subject that is even being tackled in the current elections campaign as one politician described the term underinsurance as a ‘scam’.

 Husbands said that it must be explained that underinsurance is not a scam and he stated that from the Tribunal’s point of view the problem seemed to stem from misunderstanding. “Most people didn’t seem to understand the concept of underinsurance. Most people were at a loss about what it meant.”

 The Chair of the Insurance Tribunal said: “Most people weren’t aware of underinsurance, haven’t even heard the word; and I am talking about lawyers who even study insurance laws so a lot of people were not aware. The question is as we go forward there should there be legislation and provisions in the legislation to require companies to draw these things to the attention of policy holders?”

 He said that as the Tribunal as it puts together its recommendations for the FSC and is considering whether the insurance companies have an obligation to give a warning as it relates to underinsurance: “that your property costs one million to construct, but you’re only insured for $500,000. Should the insurance company be obligated to tell you??” Husbands questioned.

 Nonetheless, it was explained that the Tribunal has been successful in assisting persons who have sought assistance with their insurance matters.

 Other members of the Insurance Tribunal include: Ms. Elenor Smith, Mrs. Icis Malone, Mr. Everett O’Neal and Mrs. Violet Gaul.