The Guardian Group Story

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CEO of Guardian Group, Ravi Tewari.

The Guardian history of service to the Caribbean dates back to 1847 when Standard Life of Edinburgh, Scotland, opened a branch office in Trinidad. Standard Life ceased operating and merged its Trinidad and Tobago portfolio with that of Jamaica Mutual Life Assurance Society, effective November 15, 1972. Towards the end of the 1970s, it became mandatory for all insurance companies to localise their operations. And so it was that Guardian Life of the Caribbean was created to accept the Trinidad and Tobago portfolio of Jamaica Mutual in December 1980. It was incorporated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on December 30, 1980 and registered under the provisions of the Insurance Act, 1980.

The acquisition of a majority shareholding in Crown Life (Caribbean) Limited in 1990 was followed by the merger of its operations with those of Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited in January 1993. This created relationships which led to the addition, also in 1993, of new cultural elements to the mix and gave Guardian its first entrée into the Dutch Caribbean – Curacao and Aruba.

Guardian Holdings (GHL), which became a publicly listed company in 1982 in Trinidad and Tobago and in 1986 in Jamaica, established Guardian Life Limited in Jamaica, in July 1999, following its acquisition of the individual life and pension portfolios of Jamaica Mutual, Crown Eagle, Dyoll Life and Horizon Life. In 2000, GHL acquired West Indies Alliance Insurance Company Limited in Jamaica and in 2001, following Guardian Holdings’ acquisition of The Caribbean Home Insurance Co. Limited, the Trinidad & Tobago operations of these companies were merged and the business was re-branded as “Guardian General Insurance Limited.” This merger was followed by the legal amalgamation of NEMWIL with Guardian General Limited in December 2007.

Guardian Group (is) the single largest brand in the insurance and financial services sector in the English and Dutch Caribbean.

In 2003, GHL added Guardian Asset Management, an institutional asset management and mutual fund arm and it further cemented its roots in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean with its acquisition of Fatum Holding N.V., owner of the “Fatum” Group in the Netherlands Antilles. In 2012, Guardian Holdings Limited announced the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Globe Insurance Company of Jamaica Limited (Globe), which was later merged with West Indies Alliance Insurance Company Limited to form Guardian General Insurance Jamaica Limited. The growth of the GHL group of companies continued in 2013 with the successful acquisition of the issued share capital of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance (Antilles) N.V. from the RSA Group and Maduro & Curiel’s Bank by Fatum General Insurance N.V. (Fatum), a subsidiary of Fatum Holding N.V.

GHL has earned its reputation among the leading financial institutions in the Caribbean, and its subsidiaries Guardian Life of the Caribbean and Guardian General Insurance Company are both rated “A- Excellent” by top rating agency A.M. Best.

In 2013, GHL and all its subsidiaries rebranded to Guardian Group, a single brand and identity to represent the largest indigenous financial services and insurance group in the Caribbean. While the companies within the group remain separate legal entities, they all now carry a single brand name, logo and tagline, solidifying Guardian Group as the single largest brand in the insurance and financial services sector in the English and Dutch Caribbean, with a rich legacy of over 167 years.

Guardian Group believes the route to realising its vision to be the customer’s preferred choice in financial planning and insurance, is in operating as one integrated, customer-centric company, which sees the world through its customers’ eyes and delivers its brand promise consistently at every customer touch point, assisted by extensive distribution channels. A commitment to integrity, quality and the building of long term relationships is complemented by the company’s contribution to the growth and sustainability of the communities it serves. Cumulatively, this helps to create trust, which Guardian Group recognises is at the essence of the insurance promise.

CEO, Ravi Tewari, is confident about the Group’s prospects.

CEO, Ravi Tewari, is confident about the Group’s prospects going forward. With non-core issues having been dealt with, remaining is a core portfolio of very strong companies, which, the CEO believes, bodes well for future increases in shareholder value.

Trinidad and Tobago constitutes the strongest insurance market in the region and also the only investment grade economy. So, when you consider that insurance represents the Group’s core business and that country its core market, contributing over 50% to its revenue, one can understand Mr. Tewari’s assuredness.

The CEO is also focused on leveraging the Group’s scale and diversity in continuing to synergise its operations, to encompass removing duplicate systems, standardising processes and outsourcing certain activities, a state of affairs that affords the opportunity to generate significant shareholder value, entirely undetermined by external factors.

Beyond driving inorganic growth, there is a firm commitment to driving strong organic growth as part of Guardian Group’s systematic deployment of strategy. This further involves growth by acquisition, operational efficiency and ultimately the building of a scalable, centralised group.

With the premiere portfolio of non-bank financial institutions in the Caribbean, the number one market position in Trinidad and Tobago, and either number one or two market position in all other markets, Guardian Group has all the ingredients to produce consistent returns and growth. Moreover, its diversified status: in the form of life, health, pensions, general insurance and asset management lines of business; in 21 countries across the English and Dutch Caribbean; and in its investment portfolio, sees it set fair to both consolidate its pre-eminent status, and enrich lives across the markets it serves.

For more information, visit myguardiangroup.com.