THERE MAY simply be too many insurance companies in Barbados, said Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss.
During his feature presentation in the latter part of the General Insurance Association of Barbados’ annual general meeting at Radisson Aquatica Resort today, Inniss said such high numbers served to the detriment of the industry.
He said the local insurance network had developed to the stage where there were 22 domestic insurance companies, 23 insurance brokers, 16 loss adjustors and more than 500 agents and salespersons.
“The simple reality is we have to ask ourselves what is the absolute number of entities you can have in each industry in Barbados.
“I’m becoming concerned we may be beginning to have too many insurance companies and for sure too many insurance brokers in Barbados, competing in a market size that is not growing so therefore unless you are going to cut costs dramatically you are not going to be able to survive . . . and there is going to become a point I time where you will have to put yourselves up for someone to acquire you or you’re going to have to merge or fall by the wayside,” Inniss said.
The minister noted that the domestic insurance sector had about $3 billion in assets and generated more than $700 million a year in premiums.
He said the general insurance subsector had been challenged over past few years by low reinsurance rates which resulted in relatively low domestic premiums.
This, he added, was compounded by increased competition as well as the growth and rising influence of insurance brokers in Barbados. (CA)