Take insurance seriously – Singh tells homeowners, businesses

…companies need to market insurance products better

Many homeowners and businesses in Guyana pay little attention to having their assets insured. They fail to realise the dire consequences which could confront them if some unfortunate event were to occur.

An artist’s impression of the new Assuria Head Office at Carmichael and Church Streets, Georgetown

Senior Minister with the responsibility of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, on Wednesday recognised this trend, and urged stakeholders to re-evaluate their position to handle such losses. At a sod turning event for new Assuria Headquarters, he emphasised that most people tend to reconsider their choices after standing on the aftermath of a calamitous experience such as death, or a fire, which can affect an entire family.

Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh

“I want to say in the most emphatic terms possible that insurance is an indispensable stable in any company’s and any household’s risk management toolkit. You can’t speak of risk management, either from a business standpoint or even household standpoint, without considering the importance of insurance,” he explained.
The minister recognised that frequently, the minimum insurance is taken just to abide with legal prerequisites.
“When you suffer a calamity, you discover the dire straits that you’re in; likewise with businesses. This is not something that is unique to households, it’s something that businesses face as well. Sometimes you think you might be saving by taking the absolute minimum insurance. We take the absolute minimum just to get by, or the law says we must get some minimum insurance.”
However, a closer look shows that insurance helps to mitigate risks which cannot be eliminated at a household or business level. Guyanese were advised to have their assets properly secured – a feasible decision against any disastrous happening.
“You might not appreciate the importance of insurance until you consider, at a household level, what happens to your family if you suffer a calamitous experience…I want to urge every Guyanese business and household to pause and look long and hard at the risks you face and how you can mitigate those risks using insurance products,” Singh shared.

Meanwhile, he explained that there is still a gap to be filled by insurance companies in keeping the public educated on these life decisions and the methods used to market their product.
“I think the insurance sector needs to do more to educate people about why insurance is important and why insurance is really indispensable…I really feel that every business and household needs to think carefully about what the risks are that they face, and what insurance products are available to help them mitigate those risks. You’re not going to be able to eliminate all the risks,” he cautioned.
According to him, the industry needs to revive public awareness and appreciation for the value of insurance, especially as a risk management instrument.
The Finance Minister added, “I would also like the industry to reflect on how it can constantly introduce new products, products that will respond to the new realities which we live. I’d encourage the industry to examine new ways in which you can innovate and introduce new products that increasingly can make available to the Guyanese community additional tools, additional instruments, additional products, so that they can better avail themselves of the products you sell and better manage their risks.”
The sod turning event heralded the start of construction on an office for Assuria at Carmichael and Church Streets, Georgetown. It would cost over $800 million. The office is being constructed by Nabi Construction Incorporated, and would likely be completed in 14 months’ time.
Assuria noted that this venture and multi-million-dollar investment is a signal of the company’s commitment to the Guyanese market. (G12)