A new industry association has been established *”to promote The Bahamas as an international insurance jurisdiction”*.
The Bahamas International Insurance Association (BIIA) held its inaugural meeting last month, adopting eight “objects”:
1. To provide a framework whereby the insurance community of The Bahamas can speak with a unified voice on issues of concern to all its members;
2. To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and provide technical expertise and consulting assistance to all its members;
3. To liaise with the Government / Supervisor of Insurance and/or any association or body on matters affecting the insurance industry;
4. To encourage professionalism and ethical conduct of the members and to develop a code of conduct;
5. To provide a unified approach to problems affecting the Association’s members;
6. To promote a better understanding of the role of the insurance industry within The Bahamas;
7. To promote education and training in insurance; and
8. To promote the insurance industry of The Bahamas internationally.
Last year on the occasion of opening a BFSB-sponsored international insurance forum, the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson said that although practitioners had labeled the existing External Insurance Act of The Bahamas as user friendly and progressive, *”To stay on the cutting edge, plans are underway for review of the External Insurance Act to ensure ongoing relevance to the needs of a rapidly developing market.”*
Dr. Roger G. Brown, Registrar of Insurance Companies, also presented welcoming remarks for the forum and spoke to the importance given to the financial services industry by the new Government of The Bahamas. At that time, Dr. Brown also noted *”We believe The Bahamas can become, again, the premier domicile in the region for Captive Insurance business. We are restructuring and retooling, and will start very soon to reclaim our position at the top.”*
The Minister of Financial Services and Investments promised significant expansion of the Office of the Registrar of Insurance Companies and, generally, improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the insurance regulatory framework. Draft legislation for amendments to both the Domestic and External Insurance Acts is receiving wide consultation with industry and, already, the technical staff component of the registrar has been expanded to nine professionals. Additionally, enhancements have made to the research and data collection/publication capacity of the Office of the Registrar.
On BIIA, Minister Maynard-Gibson has said that the Government looks forward with great anticipation to the opportunity to have yet another financial services group involved in the consultative approach that has become the hallmark of the administration. She said, *”Historically we have proven that we can be a player in the international arena, and the Government will do whatever is necessary to maintain this position. We will keep The Bahamas on the competitive edge in terms of products and services offered, while ensuring the integrity of our financial services system.”* She has pledged to partner with BIIA, indicating *”We want your recommendations – as practitioners – on how to move this industry forward, and on what we need to do to “add more value” to the services we can provide.”*
The President of the new insurance association is Mr. Hywel Jones, with David Richardson serving as Treasurer, and Guilden Gilbert as Secretary. BIIA evolved from an international insurance sub committee of BFSB’s Insurance Working Group.