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NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (File photo)

NCB to merge insurance operations with Guardian

NCB Financial Group's headquarters on Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, Jamaica (File photo)

The NCB Financial Group Limited indicates that it is about to execute a merger of insurance operations with Guardian Limited for greater efficiency.

The NCB Financial Group announced it is seeking to merge its insurance operations with that of Guardian Group.

The company announced today, July 1, via a Jamaica Stock Exchange notice, that it is seeking to ‘strengthen its Jamaican insurance portfolio and optimise its product and service offerings and customer experience.”

Therefore, it has begun the process of streamlining the insurance business currently offered by its competing subsidiaries – NCB Insurance Company Limited (NCBIC) and Guardian Life Limited.

NCB Group said that NCBIC has submitted applications to the Financial Services Commission seeking approval for the transfer of 100 per cent of the company’s portfolio of insurance and annuities business to Guardian Life Limited.

President and Group CEO at NCBFG, Patrick Hylton

It is also seeking from the regulator permission to operate as a licensed dealer under the Securities Act; and registration of NCBIC  as an insurance agent under the Insurance Act.

The submission also indicates that the application for approval of transfer of business and the application for registration as an insurance agent are contingent upon each other.

If approved, these applications will allow NCBIC to discontinue its business as an insurance underwriter, but retain and continue to operate its business as a pension fund administrator and investment manager, while selling insurance products as an exclusive agent of Guardian Life Limited under a new company name.

National Commercial Bank Jamaica (File photo)

NCB Financial said insurance policies for existing policyholders will not be impacted, as GLL will honour the contracts being transferred on its current terms.

“We recognise that while each entity has delivered strong performance results,” said President and Group CEO at NCBFG, Patrick Hylton, adding that “having competing entities within the same Group of companies has resulted in missed opportunities to collaborate and leverage economies of experience and scale that could positively benefit each entity’s customers and performance.”

Hylton said, “As we adapt to doing business in the ‘new normal’, companies must take every opportunity to optimise employee and customer experiences, operating efficiency and shareholder value to maintain their viability.”

NCB Financial Group Limited was incorporated in April 2016 to be licensed under the Banking Services Act as the financial holding company for National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited.

The company is the largest financial services group in Jamaica with roots dating back to 1837.

In May 2019, the banking conglomerate finalised the acquisition of an additional 74.23 million shares in Guardian Holdings Limited, which doubled its ownership of the regional insurance group to 62 per cent at a cost of US$207 million ($28 billion).

Guardian Life has sold insurance in Jamaica since 1999. The company is engaged in the underwriting of all classes of long-term insurance business.

Guardian’s policies are sold by employed insurance advisers and through brokers, operating in ten branches across Jamaica.