PHILIPSBURG:--- The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS) will soon launch new strategic goals and plans for the period 2018-2020. ‘Openness, agility and customer-friendly’ are terms that the CBCS identifies itself with going forward. In line with the CBCS’ new strategy to be open and transparent, the CBCS deems it important to periodically inform the public about developments and issues encountered when exercising her supervisory responsibilities.
In September 2017, the country of Sint Maarten was exposed to the fierceness of hurricanes Irma and
Maria, which devastated economic assets and activity in Sint Maarten confronting the country and its people with unprecedented challenges. Clients of financial institutions subject to the CBCS’ supervision were not spared.
Considering the important role of the insurance sector in the recovery of Sint Maarten, CBCS has, shortly after the passing of the hurricanes, put insurance companies on a monthly reporting basis. Information
about reported, outstanding and settled claims must be submitted periodically to the CBCS. The most recent statistics reveal an average claims-settlement percentage of 70, with motor claims accounting for the highest percentage (92%) and property for the lowest (65%) out of a total of approximately 8.200 reported claims.
To complement the monthly reporting, visitations were conducted at the premises of all insurance companies writing insurance business in Sint Maarten. The major findings revealed concerns in the following areas:
• Insufficient insurance coverage by clients because of high catastrophe insurance premiums;
• Underinsurance of properties and ignorance of clients about its consequences;
• Limited number of loss adjusters in Sint Maarten;
• Scarcity of building materials;
• Scarcity of contractors impeding the timely submission of rebuilding costs estimates and resulting in increased rebuilding costs;
• Usage of insurance funds received to satisfy other needs by clients;
• Increased insurance and reinsurance premiums.
The issue of underinsurance has, considering its impact on the financial condition of the client, major attention of the CBCS and guidelines are being developed in this area. Meetings were conducted by the CBCS with representative organizations of insurance companies and brokers on Curaçao and Sint Maarten during which this particular issue received major attention.
Awaiting these new guidelines, CBCS by means of this publication encourages clients and prospective clients to proactively address this issue with their insurance broker and insurance company when taking out insurance coverage. Clients are advised to ask questions about their insurance policy conditions and demand proper explanation about the eventual consequences of their choice.
The CBCS welcomes any complaints of clients in respect to services received from a particular financial services provider. Statistics are being kept by the CBCS about all complaints received, as these provide relevant information about a financial institution’s behavior towards its clients. Complaints received thus far by the CBCS in respect to hurricanes Irma and Maria amount to a total of 8. All these complaints were
given duly attention by the CBCS and measures were taken where deemed necessary. As the CBCS is legally bound to secrecy, details of actions and measures taken with respect to supervised entities cannot be disclosed.