Commentary: Pressure for Insurance Agents, Brokers

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IN 2019 the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago amended the definition of “Financial Institution” in the proceeds of criminal Act Chapter 11:27 that insurance agents, insurance brokers and insurance companies conducting non-life insurance business are exempted from the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.

However, some of our local insurers seem to be aggressively competing for the award of the most regressive society in the universe (not world) by insisting that brokers still comply with the requirements when clearly CBTT has removed the tedious paperwork.

Can you comprehend that companies such as major insurance companies are still applying pressure to agents and brokers to produce these paperwork that is now exempted under the Act? 

Although the agent and brokers are all exempt from AML/CFT requirements. Can you guess what these rigid, inflexible, bureaucratic insurers did since 2019 as the requirements were removed? Absolutely nothing. 

Imagine, the extremely simple reason this decision was taken is that the risk of money laundering occurring during a general insurance transaction is absolutely near nil or near close to!

Apparently these ancient-thinking insurance companies want to kill the forest trees in the world to ensure the bureaucracy continues so that we have more paperwork and more paperwork. So instead they continue to request know your customer (KYC) forms, proof of address from customers, two forms of identification, a utility bill and more and more unnecessary information that is no longer required to effect the insurance coverage.

So rather than save paper and save the frustration and stress, we use more resources destroying the planet and cutting down more trees in the rainforest while adding to further destruction of the burning down of the forest due to the effects of El Niño. Yes, I’m being sarcastic but wouldn’t you love to put every single CEO to sit down and justify this nonsensical approach? Pretty certain they won’t be able to respond.

One major insurer is a classic contender in this regard. The brokers get away from providing AML/CFT documents until there is a claim. Then they hold back paying the claim until they receive every single piece of AML/CFT documentation before settling the claim and cutting the check first to the client. Ouch! 

Thus puts tremendous stress on the client to keep operations going. 

There is a definite need for the regulator to look at certain Insurers who are continuing to operate like this and then make low-ball offers to their clients and third parties and never respond to correspondence unless legal action is taken.

What is needed is closer monitoring and pressure on insurers to ease up in the brokers and pay claims quicker and within reasonable timeframes.

Maybe there is a good reason for insisting to practice something they complained so much to the regulators about doing in the first instance. However, any sane person wants to know the real reason.  It’s mind boggling. 

Please help me understand!

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.


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