Insurers confident for favourable resolution to payments suspension concerns

Insurers confident for favourable resolution to payments suspension concerns
Sandy Morley, from the Bahamas Insurance Association. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamian insurance industry expressed confidence over a quick and positive resolution to its concerns regarding the recent suspension of health, medical and life insurance policy payments under the COVID-19 Emergency Powers order.

Sandy Morley, the Bahamas Insurance Association’s (BIA) deputy chairman told Eyewitness News that industry stakeholders had discussions on the issue with the regulators and government on Wednesday.

“We did have a meeting with industry stakeholders. We also had extensive discussions with the regulators and also some discussions with the government. I am happy that the government is amendable to some of the concerns. They are understanding of  some of the challenges. I am confident that this is going in the right direction and we should have this matter resolved shortly,” said Morley.

He added: “We are having ongoing discussions with them. We don’t have time lines but I am satisfied that the discussions are going in the right direction. Our industry is subjected to the order just like many others. We are a very resilient industry. We resorted to providing a lot of our services remotely, utilizing some of the technological platforms available to us. We appreciate that these are challenging times and we must do our part in making certain we are good citizens and help the government accomplish what it is they want to do.”

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis issued additional emergency measures that would suspend the obligation to pay any health, medical or life insurance policy, during the state of emergency and 60 days after.

The special provisions order also suspends the obligation to make certain payments to any government entity, statutory body or regulator until 30 days after the end of the state of emergency.

The new measures follow the passing of a resolution to extend the state of emergency and emergency orders to April 8.The Emergency Powers (COVID19) (Special Provisions) Order, 2020, came into force on March 17.

“In respect of any health, medical and life insurance policy, the obligation to pay any insurance premium under any policy of insurance is suspended,” the order reads.

“…Should any insured event occur giving rise to the liability of the insurer to pay a claim to the insured, the insurer shall honour the claim and only deduct the renewal fee and any deductible from the money paid under the claim.”

Morley noted that the industry is mindful of the fact that customers may not be able to access some facilities to make payments.

“We will work with those clients and continue to have them maintain their policies. The industry is also mindful that there are corporate clients or group clients who would have challenges subsequent to the COVID-19 order.

Morley added: “We will continue to work with them on a case by case basis to ensure that we assist them and continue to provide coverage to their staff.”