Business

Massy mulls general insurance in Jamaica

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014    

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THE rebranded Trinidad-based Massy group wants to enter the insurance sector in Jamaica.

Without disclosing details of its plans, the move, it indicated, would widen the conglomerate's customer base beyond its corporate services.

"Massy United Insurance: again we do not have this business in Jamaica but we would like to be," said group president and CEO Gervase Warner in his address to clients and managers on Monday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. United Insurance is in 14 territories across the region,"

Massy United Insurance, based in Barbados, offers general insurance services in the English-and Dutch-speaking Caribbean through a network of sub-agents.

Entry into Jamaica could see Massy gain market share in a sector worth $29.8 billion in gross premiums in 2013, according to industry data.

Warner said that operations in Jamaica currently lack consumer lines to maximise "synergies" arising from the name change.

Such synergies include offering a newly launched Massy loyalty card in Trinidad and Barbados that offers rewards across its various consumer lines.

The corporate operations in Jamaica were rebranded Massy Technologies, formerly Illuminat; Massy Gas Products formerly Gas Products, Massy Distribution, formerly HD Hopwood; and Massy Trading, formerly Marketing & Distribution.

Pre-tax profit from the Jamaican operations at TT$13.3 million ($226.4 million) jumped 65 per cent in the first three months of 2014 compared with the same period a year earlier.

The local operations accounted for less than 10 per cent of group profit for the quarter at TT$197 million, financials indicate.

Warner in his 30-minute presentation said that the name change would better integrate the disparate businesses and operations across the region.

"This is not just a change of name," he said. "It's about us coming together to better serve the community we operate in... and to create a statement of purpose."

The group reluctantly omitted 'Neal' from its new name but kept 'N' in its newly designed logo.

Warner describes the Massy logo as containing an N and M intertwining into an infiniti sign with four vibrant colours.

The National Museum at Warsaw, Poland also uses a logo with N and M intertwining into an infiniti shape with four similar colours. On Monday, Warner downplayed these similarities which received media attention in Trinidad.

"You would have seen some of the controversy in the papers over our logo. I won't say too much about that but we think we are all right," he said in the preface to his presentation.

The Trinidad Express in its July 8 Business Express edition placed both logos on its front page with the headline "A logo of coincidence".

"The newly rebranded Massy Group, formerly Neal and Massy, has found itself in the middle of a controversy over alleged plagiarism with its new corporate logo. The conglomerate has denied this and offered an explanation," reads the article. Warner in the article maintains that both logos are independent.

Checks by the Observer in June indicate that Massy sought to register its new logo as a trademark with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office. Its approval is pending.

"Confronted with the reality that the proposed name change drops the name of one of the two founding fathers of the group, deliberate intent was paid to the design of the logo to refer to the heritage of both Neal and Massy, as the N and M are clearly visible within the logo. Futhermore, much work was done to emphasise the values of our founders Harry Neal and Clarles Massy in the values and messages about what the brand stands for," stated the company.

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