Sabrina Gordon, Business Writer
British Caribbean Insurance Company Limited (BCIC) has launched a new product offering, Diamond Max, for drivers over the age of 60, a segment of the market the company said it is targeting to grow in its portfolio.
Older drivers are regarded as a high-risk segment of the motoring public, which BCIC acknowledges, but says on the upside that persons in this age group tend cost less in claims than the average individual.
"We don't think it is as high a risk as the rest of the industry base on the way we underwrite the person," said Peter Levy, managing director of BCIC.
"We believe that although the risk is high, they are slightly less likely to be in an accident and even so, the cost tends to be lower than the average person because they drive slower," said Levy.
Currently, motor policy for seniors account for approximately 15 per cent of the company's motor portfolio.
Levy said he wants to grow that figure to about 25 per cent over the next year.
The segment, he said, has growth potential.
"The fact is the population is an increasingly ageing one and so there is a growth potential not just now but also in the next five to 10 years," he said.
Diamond Max was launched a week ago offering benefits such as personal delivery of policies and certificates to the insured, alerts via SMS or email of renewal dates for fitness, insurance and licence registration; and a shrinking excess which will reduce the portion of any claim that the policyholder will have to pay from five per cent to 3.5 per cent by the fourth year and to 2.5 per cent in the fifth year.
Diamond Max policyholders will also have a dedicated BCIC pool of claims personnel. The company also offers an increased loss-of-use benefit for up to a maximum of J$1,500 per day for 15 days.
While not disclosing what the premiums would look like, Levy said, it is much lower than the standard private car holder with a separate pricing structure.
"We believe we have found a way to minimise risk by the way we qualify the person — for example, they have to be the main driver, among others," said Levy.
BCIC, the general insurance subsidiary of the ICD Group Limited, which has a 68.5 per cent ownership in the company, has been steadily growing over the years. Victoria Mutual Building Society owns the other 31.5 per cent as part of a recent merger deal between its subsidiary Victoria Mutual Insurance Company and BCIC.
At the end of 2011, BCIC reported net insurance premium revenue of J$1.3 billion, up from J$1.2 billion in the prior year of 2010 and J$1.1 billion in 2009.
According to Levy, his company had a nine per cent share of the market at the end of 2011, and is ranked fourth of 10 players.
BCIC operates six branches across Jamaica with its head office on Duke Street in Kingston.