Sunday, July 20, 2008

Caricom Insurance licence application still under review

Caricom Insurance licence application still under review
Stabroek News news item. Sunday 20 July 2008

The insurance licence application for Caricom General Insurance Company Inc is still under review at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OCI), almost a year after it was submitted.

Last year the company announced its intention to change its name from Guyana Fire Life and General Insurance (GuyFlag) and apply for a licence under its current name. It had been denied a licence in October 2005, under its former name.

Assistant Insurance Commissioner Tracy Gibson told Stabroek News on Monday that the situation had not changed and the application was still under review. However, she said the review was expected to be finished by August.

The company had challenged the OCI’s decision in 2005 through the courts but the case was dropped last year, paving the way for it to re-apply for a licence under the new name. In January, OCI Commissioner Maria van Beek had told this newspaper that a decision was expected since December, but that there was a delay in the final report of the auditors who visited the company. She had said at the time that the OCI had concluded an inspection and special audit of the company but the auditor’s reported had been expected by January month-end. The findings of this report are expected to influence the decision about the company’s licence application.

The company, which also manages the Linden Economic Advancement Fund (LEAF), a government of Guyana/European Commission funded project, received the final tranche of the $251 milion from the EC in March. The EC had taken the decision to withhold the funds in 2005; following allegations of fraud.

The fund is worth 1.9 million euros and began operations in January 2005. It is a component of the Linden Economic Development Programme (LEAP) that began operations in 2002 and is worth $2 billion. LEAP and LEAF are expected to come to an end next June.

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