Sagicor eyes still on global market
The Barbadian-headquartered Sagicor Financial Corporation will continue its international expansion despite the millions of dollars lost in its European operations.
According to president and chief executive officer, Dodridge Miller, the problems with Sagicor at Lloyd’s were due to “timing” and events largely beyond the group’s control.
Speaking last Friday from Trinidad and Tobago during a video conference with journalists in Barbados, Miller said the company’s international potential was evident in its success in the United States.
With the European operations set to be sold, he said the company was now firmly focused on its continuing operations.
“The Sagicor group will continue its programme of diversification and seek out opportunities in markets where we believe the returns and the risks are acceptable for our shareholders,” he said.
Miller noted that Sagicor had been operating in the United States since 2005 and was performing well.
“We grew at 20 per cent the first six months [of this year] in the United States and we’ve been kind of slowing that growth down while we resolve the Sagicor Europe issues,” he revealed.
He said the company had no problems competing in the United States market or attracting brokers.
“We have no issues in attracting business, so from that point of view we’ve demonstrated that we are capable of competing in a very competitive international market.
“International expansion is not without its challenges but that is something that we knew and it just was confirmed by our experience at Lloyd’s,” he added.
Since 2011, the Lloyd’s operation has dragged down the financial results of the company due to a series of catastrophe payouts in 2010 and 2011. Sagicor Europe Limited recorded a net loss of US$41.7 million (BDS$83.4 million) for the first six months of this year.
Miller noted that there were seven catastrophes in 2011 and 2010 even though “these events under any actuarial model were supposed to only happen once in 250 years”.
In light of this, Sagicor recently announced that it was selling Sagicor Europe, which includes Sagicor at Lloyd’s, to AmTrust Financial Services for US$85 million (BDS$170 million).
The president said that while there were risks in the Caribbean relating to the performance of regional economies, the group had managed similar risks before and was confident about doing so again.
He noted that while there were specific problems with the Jamaican economy, that market was also bringing in profits.
“It has paid strong dividends over the years and we believe that it is not appropriate for us as a Caribbean company to just walk away from countries when they’re having [problems],” he said.