(SNO) – A prominent insurance official in Saint Lucia has made a special plea to owners of plywood houses to consider getting insurance as the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season arrives.
Kirk Maraj, Saint Lucia branch manager for the Guyana and Trinidad Mutual Group of Companies (GTM), said people owning $20,000-houses can apply for insurance.
The hurricane season officially begins Friday, June 1.
“I would want to make a special plea to those who think they are out of the loop,” Maraj told DBS. “Persons who probably have plywood houses, people who own maybe $20,000 houses, I would like to let them know that you can protect your asset.”
Maraj said persons who don’t own homes can still apply for insurance.
“Tenants, not because you don’t own the house doesn’t mean that you cannot insure the contents within,” he told DBS.
The 16-year insurance veteran said there has been some growth in the insurance of residential properties in St. Lucia, but most commercial property owners are yet to step up.
“We have seen some signs of growth in the portfolio, more particularly residential, that would be private dwellings, and that is trending upwards but we are still not very happy with the numbers, and we hope to build on that,” Maraj said. “We hope to have some more campaigns, more outreach programmes to sensitise people and make people know the value and the importance of owning an insurance policy.”
He is encouraging Saint Lucians to get their properties insured as a matter of urgency.
He said: “The idea of an insurance policy, in my opinion, cannot be more urgent than now. The promise of insurance has remained unchanged. Insurance is always going to take your uncertainty and exchange it with certainty. All your problems, all your insecurities, we are going to replace it with that sense of security. So, well we put all of that in perspective, we cannot in any way understate the value of insurance. Insurance has a very profound and wide scope, beyond just a simple signing of a document.”
Maraj noted that many citizens in Dominica did not have property insurance for their homes and businesses and are still struggling to rebuild a year after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
He does not want this scenario to occur in Saint Lucia.
Headquartered in Georgetown, Guyana since 1880, the GTM group of insurance companies established its first office in Saint Lucia in 1954. In 1998, the company acquired the first national life insurance portfolio. GTM operates in three locations in Saint Lucia namely Castries, Vieux Fort and Soufriere.