Message from the Supervisor of Insurance, International Insurance & Pension
Supervision of the insurance and private pension sector in Belize has transformed over the years. In Belize, prudential supervision of the insurance sector is transitioning from a rules-based approach into a risk-based approach. The current hybrid supervisory approach has allowed both OSIPP and the insurance sector to start adapting to the new system without causing disruptions in the conduct of business and affecting the interests of policyholders. The private pension sector remains under a rules-based supervisory system for the moment.
The “traditional challenges” of both the insurance and private pension sectors were compounded by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic which changed the mode of doing business in Belize.Insurance companies were not included in the list of essential services during the first ever “emergency lock down of the country” in April of 2020 so the companies were unable to open their doors for business.
Alma D. Gomez
Supervisor of Insurance, Supervisor of international Insurance, Supervisor of Pension
In fact, the hurricane season started while the insurers’ offices were closed. Despite the inability to open their offices for business, insurance companies were forced to innovate rather quickly and transition into a virtual business environment using the technology available. OSIPP, like the rest of the Government Offices was forced to work from home to protect staff. With the encouragement and support of the Central Information Technology Office “CITO”, OSIPP has been transitioning into an electronic business environment. It is through this medium that OSIPP continued to work without interruption. During this period all services were rendered, except for on-site inspections. OSIPP moved all meeting virtually for the protection of staff. Complaints were managed electronically and for those that were not able to have access to submit a complaint electronically, OSIPP implemented a walk-in complaint process for those persons.
The private pension sector was also affected by the pandemic but more on an administrative level more so than a financial level.
In conclusion, my team and I continue to adapt to these unconventional times and reman focus on our mission, vision, key objectives and long term goals. Prior to the pandemic, we fully instituted Risk Based Supervision in order to maximize on very limited human resources. Also we continue to play a vital role in various mandates such as AML/CTF for the insurance sector, financial inclusion, macroprudential supervision, financial stability and surveillance for the insurance and private pensions sector and in the near future our biggest task will be adopting IFRS 17, new accounting standard for “Insurance Contracts.” Lastly, we have multiple legislative changes that need to be drafted for both the Insurance and Private Pensions sector. This endeavour will take some technical assistance along with consultation from various stakeholders.