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The Gleaner - June 28, 2000

 

Life of Ja near to FINSAC deal

LIFE OF Jamaica (LoJ) president, Milverton Reynolds, yesterday confirmed that the insurer is close to finalising a deal with the Financial Sector Adjustment Company
(FINSAC).

"As you will note from various reports, the industry is not entirely out of the woods", Mr. Reynolds told Kiwanis Club of Kingston members, yesterday.

He added: "Life of Jamaica, the company of which I am president, is now in the final stages of negotiation with FINSAC for more capital to satisfy new solvency requirements and to ensure that on our journey forward the company will meet all other new statutory requirements. These talks are progressing satisfactorily and will be concluded soon."

Last week Wednesday Business revealed that Life of Jamaica executives faced a crunch meeting on Friday with Finance Minister Dr. Omar Davies in a bid to hammer out how $2 billion of fresh equity would be injected into the company.

The meeting saw LoJ boss Dennis Lalor gather with FINSAC head Patrick Hylton and the Finance Minister in a bid to finalise how FINSAC would pump in the new money to help shore up LoJ's balance sheet.

Documents obtained by Wednesday Business indicated that the negotiations were close to being finalised on the deal but could well hinge on whether FINSAC plays a more direct role in running LoJ or whether Mr. Lalor's existing management team should remain in place.

Reports out of the Friday meeting suggested that FINSAC was still pushing for senior management changes but a final decision had not yet been reached. Mr. Reynolds added yesterday that: "It is important to note that a recent review of our operations by FINSAC indicated that LoJ is operationally sound and very strong. With a strengthened capital base coupled with excellent technological infrastructure, a strong management team, committed employees and a rolling Strategic Five-Year Plan, I can assure you that LoJ will continue to be the dominant player in the industry."

Mr. Reynolds, speaking during insurance week, said public confidence was returning to the industry after the near-collapse of the financial sector.

"I must commend the Government for the co-operation and assistance it has given in helping the industry to get back on its feet through FINSAC," said Mr. Reynolds.

He pointed to progress in premiums and amount payable but it was the fact that the number of sales representatives in the industry jumped from 540 to 640, which surprised many at the gathering.

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