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Cedric Stephens | Making sense of the grasping pastor and life insurance coverage | Enterprise

Final Sunday Gleaner’s article concerning the ‘second coming’ of Kevin Smith – the late chief of Montego Bay’s Pathways Worldwide Kingdom Restoration Ministries – created a shroud across the quick piece concerning the anticipated life insurance coverage payout following the killing of a church member.

Extra column inches had been dedicated to the late pastor’s unlikely resurrection than to the losers within the plot, – the sufferer’s relations. Their losses will likely be in blood and cash.

Then again, the late pastor’s household appears prone to get the funds. He was named because the coverage beneficiary. None of this made sense to me.

My plan to make use of these articles as content material for at present’s column grew stronger after I learn David Geddes’ letter to the editor. It was final Wednesday Gleaner’s letter of the day. He was replying to a different reader’s query: What’s using insurance coverage? Mr Geddes is the director of stakeholder engagement, communication and worldwide relations of the Monetary Companies Fee (FSC), which regulates non-bank monetary establishments, together with life and non-life insurance coverage firms, and intermediaries.

Mr Geddes didn’t clarify the motivation for his response. It’s unclear whether or not criticisms had been levelled on the insurance coverage business and its merchandise, the FSC, or all three. The substance of the response means that the regulatory physique bore the brunt of the implied criticism concerning the utility of insurance coverage.

As I learn Mr Geddes’s letter for the umpteenth time, I puzzled why members of the $410-billion business, its foyer, the Insurance coverage Affiliation of Jamaica, or their respective public relations businesses ignored an inexpensive client query and allowed Mr Geddes to beat them to the punch.

Details about how the Taneka Gardner life insurance coverage declare was dealt with influences public perceptions about insurance coverage, insurers, their merchandise, and the FSC. The Observer’s November 2 article, ‘Wealthy and Wily’, displays the beliefs of some individuals about insurance coverage, insurance coverage merchandise, and the FSC. The next components are germane to this dialogue:

• Numerous claims settlement delays and non-payment of claims led to the conclusion that the FSC doesn’t commonly audit the claims technique of native firms regardless that it investigates some client complaints.

• The requested data from the FSC about insurers’ claims settlement ratios, common settlement instances, and different settlement knowledge. Two officers there stated that such data was not stored by the FSC. It will be higher to hunt that knowledge from the insurers or the Insurance coverage Affiliation of Jamaica. (The 2020 IAJ annual statistical report doesn’t embrace this knowledge.)

• Insurance coverage regulators in international jurisdictions preserve settlement knowledge data (and use it to tell minimal regulatory requirements, develop requirements, and make selections about finest practices).

• The Taneka Gardner declare was a major instance of the dysfunctions within the native claims course of. Her throat was slashed in 2021. Following her killing, kin complained of being left in the dead of night for over a yr relating to the main points of her life insurance coverage coverage, from which they’re anticipating a pay-out.

• Different examples had been cited to assist the argument about extreme settlement delays.

Not one of the newspaper’s FSC informants or Mr Geddes referred to the existence of the regulator’s February 2019 insurance coverage market conduct pointers. They set up minimal guidelines on how claims ought to be managed and claimants are to be handled. Despite the fact that the regulator has stored a database of policyholder complaints since its inception 21 years in the past, it nonetheless has no clue, for instance, about how a lot time insurers are, on common, taking to pay motor claims.

The Monetary Companies Fee Act 2001 mandates the FSC, underneath Part 6(1), to advertise stability and public confidence within the operations of the monetary establishments that it regulates; public understanding of the prescribed establishments; and the modernisation of the monetary companies with a view to the adoption and upkeep of worldwide requirements of competence, effectivity, and competitiveness.

The gathering, evaluation, and monitoring of claims settlement knowledge are in step with the FSC’s mandate.

Ben Kingree’s and Louise Tanner’s 1994 article within the Tort & Insurance coverage Legislation Journal, ‘Life insurance coverage as a Motive for Homicide’ – – offered a proof as to why the pastor’s household is not going to revenue from Ms Gardner’s demise:

Life insurance coverage insurance policies procured with the intent to homicide the insured are void ab initio (from the start) if procured with the intent to kill the insured. The shortage of insurable curiosity has been a standard foundation for voiding insurance coverage insurance policies. One has an insurable curiosity in his or her personal life and will identify anybody as a beneficiary. A person who obtains insurance coverage on one other’s life should have insurable curiosity if the insurance coverage is for his/her profit. In any other case, the insurance coverage is taken into account void, speculative, or a wagering contract and is in opposition to public coverage. The presence of insurable curiosity have to be predicated on the continued curiosity within the lifetime of the insured primarily based on ‘blood or affinity’ or an inexpensive expectation of sustaining loss from the insured’s demise.

I do not need any particulars concerning the course of through which the pastor was named because the beneficiary underneath Ms Gardner’s coverage. Additionally, I’m uncertain whether or not the change in beneficiary complied with the provisions of the Insurance coverage Act of 2001.

The absence of this data plus the truth that I’m not an lawyer precludes me from providing an opinion about whether or not Ms Gardner’s household ought to be paid the insurance coverage proceeds.

Last phrases: I nonetheless don’t perceive why Guardian Life handled this matter of public curiosity as if it had been a state secret. Was Kevin Smith the one rogue pastor preying on residents? Satirically, the all-knowing ‘runkus’ clergyman didn’t know that the UK Parliament handed the Life Insurance coverage Act of 1774.

The regulation requires policyholders (and by extension beneficiaries) to have an insurable curiosity within the life insured. As for questions concerning the ‘second coming’ of the late Mr Smith, the reply is above my pay grade!

Cedric E. Stephens offers impartial data and recommendation concerning the administration of dangers and insurance coverage. Without cost data or counsel, write to: or

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