June 4, 2004 – More than 550 delegates are expected to attend the 24th annual conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean, which will open Sunday evening at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
The gathering is being co-hosted by Warner Bowers, president of the V.I. Insurance Association, and Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, who serves as the territory's commissioner of insurance.
In a release from Richards' office issued on Friday, Bowers said he and fellow members of the V.I. association see the conference "as an opportunity to show brokers and underwriters from around the world the improvements that Virgin Islanders have made in construction methods."
The industry visitors will be able to see first hand "that we are a better risk, which is good news for all Virgin Islanders," he added.
The conference theme is "Integrate or Perish."
According to Richards, the theme "is timely, appropriate and indicative of the challenges that the insurance industry faces in the Virgin Islands and regionally in the Caribbean."
The conference, he said, will afford brokers, agents and others in the industry "the opportunity to discuss issues and concerns and to develop strategic measures to revitalize the industry, restore confidence and join in collaborative partnerships throughout the Caribbean."
There are sessions Monday and Tuesday mornings and social events at night, with the afternoons left free for networking meetings, except for the annual meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday. On Sunday, prior to the 6 p.m. opening ceremony, participants have the options of taking part in a golf tournament or making a day trip to St. Croix.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves will deliver the featured address Sunday evening.
Monday's speakers and presenters include Michael Lee-Chin, chair of the NCB and AIC Group of companies; Kenneth Hall, vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies Mona campus; and Rachel Price, who will deliver a luncheon address on "Laughter Is Food for the Soul."
Tuesday's opening speaker will be former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, now leader of the opposition in that nation's Parliament. The luncheon speaker will be Wesley S. Williams Jr., co-chair of the St. Thomas-based Lockhart Companies; chair of St. Croix-based Azimuth Trust Co.; partner in the Washington D.C., law firm of Covington & Burling; chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va.; and chair of the National Conference of Federal Reserve Bank Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen.
Richards in his release extended thanks to more than 20 local businesses, community sponsors and in-kind providers for their contributions toward bringing the conference to fruition.
For the full conference schedule and more information about the gathering and the association, visit the IAC Web site. According to the site, the association has 79 member companies, including Guardian Insurance in the Virgin Islands.
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