Press release

14 Dec 2022 Port-Of-Spain, TT

Trinidad and Tobago 2021 Insurance Industry Report

EY's 2021 report on performance of the Trinidad and Tobago insurance industry, known as the Premium, reflects an industry coming out of the Pandemic that was closely followed by the effects of climate change and geo-political uncertainty.

Not surprisingly therefore, for the first time since 2018, local regional insurers reported sales (GWP) growth that was lower than the GDP growth rate.

GWP growth


Total insurance sector GWP growth in 2020 was 2.7%


The bottom line, for both the general and the long-term segments, were also adversely impacted.

  • In the LH&P segment, profits declined to below 2018 levels, with most of the decline seen in the health segment, largely explained by the Pandemic; and in the individual annuities sub-segment, largely explained by less large single premiums, in 2021, compared to 2019 and 2020. Not only did premium income decline to below 2019 levels, but low interest rates, which declined in March 2020, also remained a challenge.

LH&P GWP growth


LH&P GWP growth in 2020 was 2.9%

  • The general segment fared better, in fact, any significant anticipated decline in profits did not materialize, as premium income increased and overall loss ratios remained low, because of lower activity, and because 2021 was an event free year. At the time of writing this, however, Trinidad and Tobago suffered recent, severe island-wide flooding, which indicates that losses similar to or even worse than those experienced in 2018, are likely to be incurred in 2022. That, and continued, high claims inflation, affecting the motor line plus the likelihood that motor claims frequency will increase to pre-Pandemic levels mean that 2022, when it closes, would likely have been a challenging year.

General insurance GWP growth


General insurance GWP growth in 2020 was 2.3%

Macroeconomic performance

The macro-economic picture showed improvement in 2021, as the economy, which had contracted sharply by 7.7% in 2020, stabilised in 2021 with a marginal contraction of 1.0%.  Some of this improvement was due to COVID-19 support measures, the roll out of the vaccine programme in the middle of the year, and the reopening of commercial activity in the last quarter.

The Pandemic also had an impact on both oil and gas production, and while oil production rebounded in 2021, to 2019 levels, gas production was dampened by plant turnarounds, which offset much of the gains in oil and gas prices. Inflation remained mostly subdued, but a surge in international food and energy prices pushed it up by the end of 2021. Central government debt also increased.

  • Texas Natural Gas Industrial Price ($ per 000cf): $2.32* at the start of 2020 to $5.69*, by the end of 2021.
  • Inflation: 2.0%- 3.9% (2020 1%)
  • Central government debt: 65.9% of GDP (2020: 45.4% of GDP)

These results demonstrate that volatility continues to be the biggest challenge facing companies and therefore Resilience becomes a top priority.

On the positive side, the Pandemic show-cased the insurers’ readiness and flexibility of operating models in distribution, service, and customer engagement.

For this reason, this year’s point of view (below) focuses on three of the most powerful forces shaping resilience: the role of purpose, the role of co-opetition / advocacy, and the role of strong technology and data capabilities, and we close with five thought provoking questions for insurers.

Adherence with the principle of IFRS 17 is also the new compliance matter taking up the attention of insurers, the results of which will become apparent in 2022. This is a costly implementation for our region as the skill set and technology support for implementation is limited and the benefits especially as it relates to the users of financial statements, is unlikely given the sophistication of our market.

2021 was also the first time, that insurers had to comply with the new Insurance Act, both in terms of solvency requirements and reporting. This latter change has impacted the way that some of the key performance indicators in this year’s analysis are presented. 

Show resources

  • Discover the 2021 Trinidad and Tobago 2021 insurance statistics report here

Point of view

Consolidation continues to be major theme as two major players were sold in 2021, both in general insurance. The first being the announcement by the CG group to acquire 100% of Massy United and the second is TATIL’s announcement to acquire Colfire, subject to regulatory approval.

Whilst there seems to be a strategy by some to exit the sector others are consolidating and growing their exposure. This will benefit the market as investment in technology to upgrade and optimize efficiencies of internal processes ;the increased investment volatility, the difficulty of the reinsurance market and cost of doing business will probably be better managed by a few strong players than a largely dispersed market of small players.  We expect to see more consolidation in the next two years.

Role of purpose

COVID-19 was clearly the biggest “protection event” in decades, and a chance for the industry to demonstrate its relevance and value. The insurance industry’s response to the Pandemic demonstrated the power of purpose and the industry’s capacity to live up to its most aspirational promises. Insurers had to be there for customers and undertook large-scale change quickly to make sure they could serve people in need. Looking ahead, purpose can — and should — inspire to promote financial wellness and inclusion. This a time for insurers to create new products to the underserved markets where technology, through Insur-Tech, can provide cost effective solutions to the vulnerable and uninsured.

Implementing more risk based underwriting with policy payments that can be affordable can drive growth in the unserved and underserved market. And if done regionally, this can be a profitable with the right volume and targeted client base.

Role of co-opetition / advocacy

The current competitive landscape is notable for its fragmentation, and while consolidation among insurers may re-shape the landscape; more rapid “co-opetition” (i.e., competing and collaborating at the same time) may need to become a mainstay of insurers’ strategies.

But the Pandemic, and multiple recent catastrophe events, have also, more than ever, demonstrated the importance of the insurance industry within the national financial infrastructure. This too gives insurers a historical opportunity to lead together, in areas of risk mitigation and improved disaster preparedness, at a national level to protect and prepare society against and for events, the next pandemic, or other threats we can barely conceive of today.

Read How competitors can co-create the future of insurance, here

Strong technology and data capabilities

Beyond enabling connectivity and scalability, digitizing the core of the business, and migrating to the cloud are necessary to compete successfully with new product development or ecosystem business models (not to mention meet new reporting and accounting standards efficiently).

Some carriers have made large investments in digital transformation programs and to boost growth in core businesses. In this sense, innovation and cost efficiency support each other.

For insurers, too, analytics and insights generated from their own data and drawn from their ecosystems can help transform the customer experience.

How EY can help: Customer and growth solutions.

Five thought-provoking questions for insurers

  1. The premiums growth of most insurers has reached pre-Pandemic levels, which signals a positive market development.  How well did you perform in 2021 compared to peers? Are the premium numbers matching the pre-Pandemic levels?

  2. The increase in catastrophes risks within the Caribbean will have an adverse impact on reinsurance rates and claims costs. Have you launched any programs to improve cat models? And can insurance solutions go beyond traditional risk transfer to explicitly address risk mitigation?

  3. Sustainable insurance and ESG practices can become key differentiators in a competitive insurance landscape. Are you a pioneer or a rapid adopter, or a follower?

  4. Efforts on workforce transformation have been accelerated across the insurance industry to adopt flexible work models. Have you launched any strategic workforce programs? Did you identify opportunities to differentiate by combining the human touch with high tech?

  5. The profitability of many insurers is hit by increased claims and operational expenses. Have you launched any programs to drive process simplification, cost optimisation and investment realignments?