The company launched its Assuria Life (GY) Inc. and Assuria General (GY) Inc.
Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar and Finance Minister Dr Ashini Singh joined Suriname’s ambassador to Guyana. Dr Manorma Soeknandan; chief executive officer Assuria NV, Suriname, Stephen Smit; and Dick Wesenhagen, who will function as the general manager of the Guyanese subsidiaries, at the event.
Ramotar, who joined Smit in toasting the business entry into the market, said that Assuria’s actions could only aid the further promotion of regional development.
The president said that for a long time the Caribbean people have been talking about attracting foreign investment and of attracting investment beyond the region.
“Now we can speak about investment within our region, investing in each other’s economy in order to help generally with regional development,” he said.
Ramotar also spoke about establishing closer relations with Brazil, whose economy is thriving.
“Guyana and Suriname are fortunate to be bordering the fifth largest economy in the world (referring to Brazil)… we should look forward to taking advantage of that… towards an even broader type of integration in our region, where we can have more relationships with South America and the Caribbean,” the president said.
He added that this relationship can only allow for opportunities for development of more business ventures and the natural flow of others including the free movement of people.
Ramotar said that regional integration is very crucial now, as many of the region’s most important trading partners in Europe and North America are facing grave financial crisis.
He said, “We are one people with one history and we should try to share one’s prosperity.”
Assuria’s venture in the Guyanese market, Minister Singh said, is a strong vote of the company’s confidence in Guyana’s future.
The Guyana government has long regarded a competitive financial sector as an indispensable prerequisite to a growing economy and it is for this reason that it has expended considerable efforts towards putting in place the appropriate legislative framework to ensure the existence of adequate supervisory and regulatory capability to promote growth in the business sector, Singh said.
This has been achieved to an extent, as observed by the visible and thriving financial business presence in the country.
Singh said it is this environment facilitated by the government that gave Assuria the confidence to come into the Guyanese market and suggested that the company’s entrance would undoubtedly raise the bar on insurance services in Guyana, and also introduce innovation and competition.
“I have no doubt Assuria would bring experience, products and network of companies it does business that would ultimately rebound to the efficiency of the entire industry,” Singh said.
Alluding to the CLICO experience and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the insurance industry, Singh urged that Assuria work with the other insurance companies “to help to repair what injury would have been done to the insurance industry.”
Ambassador Soeknandan also said that the action by Assuria may be the concrete starting point in building more intensive relationships that are needed among South America and the Caribbean and Europe and South America.
Soeknandan also expressed confidence that Assuria’s entry into Guyana will see an increase in competition in insurance services that would only be to the benefit of the consumers.
She urged Assuria to strive to make a difference in the industry and to provide quality and reliable services to the Guyanese public.
Smit said that the launch of the Guyanese operations is part of the company’s strategic plan of being active outside Suriname.
Assuria having identified the opportunity of a trans-border business venture in Guyana is pleased to be the first Surinamese presence in the country, Wesenghagen said, and promised that the venture will definitely lead to further development of the two South American states.
“In Suriname, Assuria has developed a unique expertise… we will bring along our successful way of working in Guyana, which will be helpful in the support of the financial sector on the way to a bright future for this exciting country,” Wesenghagen promised.