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Insurance company’s license cancelled

Around $500,000 worth of insurance policies with Atlantic First Insurance Company have been cancelled following the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas’decision to revoke the company’s license.

As of yesterday, Atlantic First has been directed to cancel existing insurance policies and refund unearned premiums to policyholders. Superintendent of Insurance Lennox McCartney said actions to immediately revoke the license of the insurance company to write insurance business was spurred by ongoing concerns.

“If we feel the company is no longer safe and sound, we will take action and notify the public accordingly,”he toldGuardian Businessyesterday.”That was the situation in this case… the public was not best served by this company.

“At this time they cannot write any business. This gives the company the opportunity to reorganize and put in place the mechanisms that are needed. Only once that is complete will the commission re-evaluate the situation and make a decision on whether to return the insurer’s license.”

Head of Atlantic First Nicholas Ward toldGuardian Businessyesterday his company is in the process of gathering the necessary requirements with a view to present them to the commission and resolve the issue. It’s unclear just how long its policyholders will have to wait before refunds are made available.

AGuardian Businesssource said the move was well-received by industry insiders yesterday, given there have been concerns about the company for many years. The source explained that questions were often raised about the ability of the general and property insurer to pay out in the event of a catastrophe.

McCartney said the impact from Atlantic First would not be on the scale of the CLICO collapse.”It’s a very small operation relatively,”he explained.”Their gross premiums in the last year is like$500,000 and they have a couple hundred policies. This company is unlike CLICO, which was life(insurance).[Atlantic First’s policies]will only run for a year.”

According to him, for many years the company was restricted from writing any new policies. Without the license, Atlantic First will be unable to renew its existing policies. It may mean possible job losses at the firm to come, though the effect is likely to be minimal. The company now has around four staff members at its Beaumont House location on Bay Street,Guardian Businesswas able to confirm.

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