September 09, 2013
A new entrant into the property and casualty insurance market has upped its expectations for its first year in operation, having already surpassed initial targets for new policies underwritten.
Vibert Williams, managing director at the Netherlands Antilles General Insurance Company (NAGICO), had projected gaining $2 million worth of business in the company's first year in The Bahamas, but is now optimistic that $3 million is a likely outcome.
NAGICO obtained its license from the Insurance Commission to underwrite business in The Bahamas in February 2012, receiving its permits in October. It had its official launch in July 2013.
In an interview with Guardian Business last week, Williams said: "Things are going better than expected. I think we'll do $3 million for the year. We set fairly modest targets and we've already surpassed that target of $2 million, which was nothing to sneeze at."
Williams added that the company has expanded its network of representatives, another goal for the year. The company now has nine brokers selling its products.
"We have continued to attract a good quality and quantity of representatives and that is also testimony to the fact that people are beginning to gain more trust and confidence in us and are willing to As a property and casualty underwriter, NAGICO has entered into competition with Bahamas First, there is RoyalStar Assurance, Security & General, Insurance Company of the Bahamas and Summit Insurance Company.
Williams said he feels that the company has offered a particularly attractive home-owners' product, with a wide scope of coverage and more "value-added benefits for free".
"So people tend to respond to that," he said, adding: "We can be competitive because we have a lower cost of operation and in many cases a bigger balance sheet. We are in a different phase of our company's development phase; we are in start up and growth phase while others may be in consolidation mode."
Staff members have just reached five, and Williams project that figure "doubling" by next year. When it first entered the market, NAGICO was accused of aggressively under-cutting other underwriters.
Yesterday, Williams said he feels the market has "adjusted" as a result of NAGICO's entrance, to the benefit of consumers.
"In the end it's good for the customer. Competition helps to increase service and in some cases lower prices and that can only be down to the benefit of customers, so we have seen our competition beginning to adjust; they were adjusting even before we arrived expected we might be more aggressive than we have been.
Claiming that NAGICO had been "painted as a dragon" from before it even arrived in the market, he suggested that the reaction had been over-the-top: "It's a 350 million market guys; I don't want to be the biggest one, I just want to be a profitable one!"
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