Guardian Group umbrella expected to boost revenues

Globe Insurance to be renamed

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter

Friday, July 26, 2013

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ONE of the Caribbean's leading insurance groups says it will be better able to cross-sell and increase revenues under a single brand, stretching across nine companies under its control in the region.

Guardian Holdings, the parent company of Jamaica-based firms Guardian Life, Globe Insurance Company and West Indies Alliance, yesterday officially launched the new brand identity, Guardian Group.

All nine companies owned by Guardian, in the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, are now under the new brand.

"This helps us to cross-sell. Right now (before the rebranding) somebody may be buying the life insurance product from Guardian right here in Jamaica, but may not automatically think that they can go over to West Indies Alliance for insurance on their house or car," Jeffrey Mack, the group's chief executive officer, told Caribbean Business Report during the launch ceremony at the Guardian Life building in Kingston.

"It doesn't necessarily connect, so what we are trying to do, by having a single brand, is to cross-sell our product," Mack said.

The Guardian brand is arguably more known for insurance. But its customers will now be much more aware of the other financial product offerings of the group, including the wealth- management services. Furthermore, the new brand identity will lead to cost-synergies, said Mack.

"We have the revenue synergies... there is the ability to improve the top line," Mack said.

Admittedly, the companies of the group had worked individually under different brands and tended to operate under isolation, Mack said.

"The key thing we found was that there was a lot of confusion out in the marketplace, because we are out there with so many different brands ...," he noted. "When you got to Guardian Holdings, people didn't realise that all of this was linked to one big, strong financial institution."

For instance, the company has two general insurance companies in Jamaica and a company that offers life, health and pension products. Further east of the Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago, there is Guardian Life of the Caribbean, Guardian General Insurance Company, and Guardian Asset Management. While in the Dutch islands, the Guardian Group has the Fatum Holdings N V and Royal and Sun Alliance Antilles N V from the RSA Group Maduro and Curiel's Bank.

Still, the name Guardian evokes a positive feeling, according to Mack, who noted that surveys conducted on workers, customers and non-customers of Guardian reveal that the brand is strong.

All the Guardian companies will legally retain their names except Globe Insurance, which will be renamed Guardian General Insurance Jamaica Limited.

"Under this new name, we will join Guardian Life and the rest of the Guardian Group and be positioned in the market with a single brand identity," said Karen Bhoorasingh, the president of Globe Insurance and West Indies Alliance.

Guardian late last year completed its acquisition of Globe, giving it a stronger foothold in the market. Mack said the strategy behind the acquisition was to increase Guardian's market presence in Jamaica.

"West Indies Alliance was only number six in terms of market share; they were fairly small," Mack said. "It's Guardian's philosophy to have the number one (or) number two (spot) in the markets that we operate," Mack noted.

A similar launch event of the new Group logo and identity took place in Trinidad and Tobago, while one will take place in Barbados today. The Dutch Caribbean will officially have the new logo and brand name on August 19.




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