Business

Pinnacle targets rapid growth for 2018, while opening MoBay branch

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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Pinnacle Insurance Brokers plans on expanding its footprint to the Western end of the island.

The plans for expansion come just three years after Pinnacle Insurance began operating from its Merrick Avenue location in Kingston, and follow on steady revenue growth from its financial year ended 2017, which saw production numbers more than doubling those of 2016.

Pinnacle Insurance Chief Executive Officer Mark Neita, in a round table interview with the Jamaica Observer, said the company aims to become a one-stop shop by the end of 2018, and in addition to setting up an office in Montego Bay, is now in the process of registering two licences with the Financial Services Commission to deal in general insurance and investment.

Currently, Pinnacle Insurance represents Jamaica's two insurance giants, Guardian Life and Sagicor for life and health insurance coverage. The company also registered for a facultative licence to offer international health and life insurance coverage through the Global Benefits Group (GBG).

“We believe that our relationship and the company that we work with, GBG, is the best in the industry, hands down. And so as GBG gets out there and people become more familiar with it, we really expect that we are going to be the most significant player in the international health space,” Neita said.

The partnership with GBG has already reaped big rewards for Pinnacle Insurance, after it cemented a contract with one of Jamaica's largest hotel players for international life coverage last year.

In fact, the untapped potential of international health and life insurance is part of the reason Neita wants to expand to Montego Bay. He reckons that an office in the second city will allow the company to better target hotel workers and business professionals for international coverage.

Work is now being undertaken to have the facility open by June.

“We definitely have to have a presence in Montego Bay. It's the hub of tourism activity, and as such, our international health insurance products (that we offer), and through our facultative licence, our international life insurance product would be a good fit for people who are within the tourism industry because they are accustomed to US dollars and those products are denominated in US dollars,” the CEO told the Business Observer.

The new facility will see Pinnacle Insurance adding 10 agents to its current tally of 20. Neita also hopes to add another 10 agents to the Kingston head office, creating a total of 40 agents to manage both offices.

He said while most clients now request life insurance, he is confident that health insurance in addition to the new products, general insurance and investments, will be a hit with the market.

“We are trying to grow our business in a very systematic way. We started with the life and health, then applied for a facultative licence, and so the next step is to get into general insurance and into investments.

“We believe that people should have access to all different kinds of products worldwide and we want to be able to assist our clients in making the right choices both locally and overseas. I think it is fair to say that you lose business when you are not able to offer these types of services, and we want to be able to capture everything,” Neita reasoned.

As for investments, Neita said he is “very bullish” on Jamaica and the economy. He noted, however, that crime continues to be the biggest challenge for the country.

“But I think that the country is growing. If you look at the landscape of Kingston, it is changing. All types of development are happening and I expect that it is going to continue. We still have a lot of bureaucracy in the system, but I think some of that is going away, and as the economy improves, so will the need for services. We want to make sure that when that happens, our organisation is in the right position to take advantage of that,” he continued.

Neita is now targeting rapid growth of more than 100 per cent for 2018/2019.

“We are still at the infant stage of the business cycle, so we expect that by adding new products and services to our field, we will be able to grow our revenues 100 fold until we can get to the point where we can say we are a mature company…then we expect growth to level off,” he said.

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