June 8, 2004 – The 24th annual conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean wrapped up Tuesday on St. Thomas as delegates from throughout the region listened to speakers addressing the state of the insurance industry.
The conference, held at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, was hosted by the V.I. Insurance Association along with the Lieutenant Governor's Office. The theme was "Integrate or Perish."
This is the second time that the conference has taken place in the territory. It was first held in the Virgin Islands in 1993.
Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards said he was pleased with the outcome of the conference, adding that since taking office in January 2003 he had worked with the V.I. Insurance Association on the undertaking.
Hosting the conference brought "exposure" to the territory, Richards said. "It affords the other people from all over the Caribbean to see the Virgin Islands for what it is," he said. "It allows for the exchange of dialogue between the delegates and the local insurance companies."
About 600 individuals registered for the event.
Deverita Sturdivant, the territory's Banking and Insurance director, said the delegates had opportunities to visit St. Croix and St. John as well as St. Thomas. A golf tournament was held Sunday on St. Croix, and there was a "Barefoot on St. John" beach party at the Westin Resort on Monday night.
Sturdivant said this year's conference is "bigger and better" than it has ever been before. "Clearly, the fact that it is here shows that we are an integral part of the Caribbean region," she said.
Among the speakers the group heard from on Tuesday were former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, University of the West Indies Pro Vice Chancellor Kenneth Hall and 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.
The presenters spoke about the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Free Trade Association (FTA) and how they have affected the insurance industry.
"So far, the content has been excellent," Faye Miller of United Insurance in St. Lucia, said. "It is one of the better conferences I have attended in 10 years."
Miller said there was a "remarkable" focus on the theme that gave an in-depth picture of what is going on in the industry. "It has been extremely beneficial to me," she said.
Visiting the Virgin Islands for the first time, Miller said she hadn't "seen much of it, but it is quite pretty."
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