Caricom General Insurance still to get licence

Commissioner of Insurance, Maria van Beek  told this newspaper on Thursday that an  insurance licence is yet to be granted to the Caricom General Insurance Company, which was formerly known as the Guyana Fire Life and General Insurance Company (GuyFlag).

More than a year has elapsed since the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OCI) had undertaken the processing of the firm’s application for an insurance licence.

In an interview with this newspaper last year January, van Beek said that a decision on this matter had been expected since December 2007, but explained that there had been a delay in the final report of the auditors who had visited Caricom General Insurance. Van Beek explained that at that time, the OCI had concluded an inspection and special audit of the company, and that the auditors’ final report was expected by the end of January 2008.

Subsequently, in September 2008, Assistant Commissioner Tracy Gibson told this newspaper that a decision on the licence should be made before the end of 2008. When she was asked about the firm’s application for an insurance licence she said: the decision “would be before the end of the year…we are working on it.”

In 2005, Caricom General Insurance had taken the OCI to court after it had denied an earlier application for an insurance licence following allegations that the insurer was involved in a $400M insurance scam.  After the insurer had dropped the case against OCI the insurance authority accepted another application from the entity. In recent weeks, Caricom General Insurance has been advertising its services.

Caricom General Insurance remains the manager of the 1.9 million euros Linden Economic Advancement Fund (LEAF), a Government of Guyana and European Union (EU) programme that gives business loans to residents of Region 10. LEAF is scheduled to end in June.

The EU had stopped releasing monies to the fund after the fraud allegations in 2005 but resumed early last year, following a special audit in 2006 by the EU and a report that was made public in May 2007. The fund also had to meet some requirements before the monies were released.

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