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Eric Hosin ready for the new challenge

Published:Sunday | February 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

Eric Hosin has a new challenge - heading one of the island's premier insurance companies. On January 1, he officially took over the post as president of Guardian Life. - Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

For Eric Hosin, his new challenge is to head one of the island's premier insurance companies. On January 1, he officially took over the post as president of Guardian Life. It's a rise to the top of a company which he joined from its beginning in 1999.

Business and numbers were always going to be part of his life, as he did his studies at the then-named College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) - now the University of Technology - in business administration, with the MBA at Nova Southeastern University. It was off to Deloitte and Touche before a few years at Mutual Life, where he bounced between the accounts and marketing departments. Though he was subsequently laid off, he said it was the best thing that ever happened to him, as he ended up at JAMPRO (now Jamaica Trade and Invest).

He served as assistant vice-president of missions, promotions and public relations, which gave him the opportunity to travel. He was project manager of the successful G15 Trade Show in Montego Bay. But the challenge of the then-fledgling Guardian Life came (in an uncertain insurance climate to boot). He answered the call.

many challenges

"There have been many challenges. But I think the company has established itself in the Jamaican marketplace and is now a household name," he said. Now in the big chair, his goal is to keep the company ahead of the game.

"I want to take it (Guardian) to another level in terms of strength to the benefit of our policyholders and stakeholders," he said. "We have to increase proactivity ... and, most of all, to provide products to the customers that they want - good features, good coverage." And he expects that a big part of this success will be from the "great sense of team" at Guardian, that will "make a stronger company and drive profitability".

Born-again believer

If you're beginning to root for this businessman, then be appreciative, because none of this might have happened. At the age of 14, while at Calabar, Hosin gave his life to Christ and became a "born-again believer". Had he chosen the path that seemed destined for him, we probably would be calling him Father Hosin, or Reverend Hosin today.

"I used to be a Catholic and I was even altar server of the year once. Everybody assumed I was going to become a priest," he revealed. Some of the gentlemen he teamed with at the Inter-Schools Christian Fellowship in high school, and the University and Colleges Christian Fellowship at CAST, have now become leaders in their denominations (Jamaica Council of Churches head, the Rev Karl Johnson, among them). But don't think he's disappointed. He believes God had his reasons.

"Everybody has a calling," he said.

For a chief executive, he is quite the churchman. Despite the board meetings and ensuring the company is profitable, Hosin devotes much of his time to the Church of the Open Bible (he switched to Evangelical), at which he has been a member since 1983. He is a deacon and board member and is in charge of finances and special projects.

A cheerful man by nature, you can see his enthusiasm goes to even higher levels as he talks of the work the church is doing in various communities. One project dear to him involves a children's treat every December for youth from various communities (Denham Town, Jacques Road, Spanish Town, et al) and gives them a fun day out, replete with gifts and games, while ministering to them in the process. Hosin is also married, with three daughters. He seems to need more than 24 hours in a day.

"The Lord is so good to me, I am able find the balance. At church, I have a good group of people working with me, pulling their weight."

Christian principles

There is a stereotype that a successful businessman cannot be a true Christian, and vice versa. Hosin disagrees, and, like all other things, believes his coming to Guardian Life was God's plan.

"The group chief executive officer, Jeff Mack, pushes integrity," he said. He also pointed out that Group Chairman Arthur Lok-Jack also ensures the company meets all regulatory requirements.

"We try to use some Christian principles. Every morning we have 10-minute devotion and it lays the foundation for each day."

For Hosin and the team, much emphasis is spent on customer service, and it shows, as Guardian is perennially one of the top companies in that category.

The company is looking to modernise its information technology department and make improvements to its pension and group life policies. And Hosin plans to spearhead this, leaving full-time ministry for later. How much later is all up to his heavenly boss.

"I still believe this is where God wants me, but if I am called, so be it. The thing is, this too will pass; everlasting life is more important."