On September 13, 2011, the FTC hosted its 12th lecture in the Annual Shirley Playfair Lecture Series, under the theme “Coordinating to Compete: Limitations in the Motor Vehicle Insurance Market.
The main speaker was Mr. Harold Wong, Senior Manager – Underwriting of Advantage General Insurance Company, who was joined on a panel by Mr. Leon Anderson, Deputy Executive Director of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and Mr. Cedric Stephens, Insurance Consultant. Miss Wendy Duncan, Legal Officer of the FTC, presented on several key highlights and issues that are raised in the FTC’s ongoing study of the motor vehicle insurance market. The panel fielded questions from the audience in the discussion segment that was moderated by Commissioner Emile Leiba.
Mr. Wong’s presentation highlighted the financial plight of the industry noting that for the five year period ending 2010, the industry recorded losses in underwriting; and experienced a reduction in losses in 2010 only after the implementation of rate increases in 2009. He noted also that the industry suffered reduced investment income attributable to the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) Programme.
Mr. Anderson’s presentation highlighted the role on the FSC with respect to regulating the industry. He emphasized that the FSC does not have the power to stipulate the premiums that insurance companies should charge or risks that they should accept; and that the FSC’s authority is to ensure that the companies are adequately and appropriately capitalised to match their risks.
Following the lecture, a vibrant, interesting and provocative discussion ensued in which several members of the audience posed questions and directed comments to the presenters.