State Insurance Company Limited (SICL)
Live in a better State of mind
Business View Caribbean interviews Aarion Nicholas, CEO of State Insurance, for our focus on the Public Sector.
Established in 1977 by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda primarily in response to socio-economic issues plaguing the island, State Insurance Company Limited (SICL) is committed to becoming the undisputed premier financial service company in Antigua and Barbuda. As a principally owned government entity, SICL provides insurance solutions for a wide cadre of risks, including Life & Medical, Property, Motor, Business Interruption, Contractors Equipment, Travel, Burglary, Liability, Personal Accident, Contractors All Risk, Marine Hull & Cargo, Fidelity Guarantee, and specialty risks.
SICL proudly holds the title of the first indigenous insurance company established in the twin-island state and the first to establish a physical presence in Barbuda. The organisation also dedicates itself to giving back to local communities through charitable works and donations, including food drives and community development programs, and with plans to celebrate its 46th Anniversary in January 2023, this powerhouse shows no signs of letting up.
Ms. Aarion Nicholas recently assumed the post as CEO, having joined the team as Executive Manager in 2020 with over a decade of industry experience. Ms. Nicholas begins, “State Insurance was created to fill a void and sustain those within our local population who could not afford regular insurance while also used as a vehicle to mitigate against a foreign exchange leakage at that time. The public response and support were overwhelming, with an expressed need for our solutions within the wider local market. Today, we are a privately registered company, principally owned by the government, but one of our strategic objectives is to list on the ECSC within the upcoming years. This would allow local stakeholders and investors to become part of our brand from the drivers seat and experience returns within the economy that we love and in their pockets.”
She continues, “Change is constant, so there are quite a few products that we are now reviewing to ensure that we cover every insurance need throughout all stages of life. We can take our clients from infancy, grow with them into their golden years, and protect their investments from start-ups. We take care of their family and loved ones after they pass on as well.”
COVID-19 provided a new lens for State Insurance, Ms. Nicholas shares. “We pride ourselves on our high efficiency and attention to detail and consider ourselves one of the best operating insurance companies in our country. Despite this, the pandemic was unexpected. A lot of adjustments had to be made in terms of our operations which were primarily executed via face-to-face interactions pre-covid. Another challenge we had to overcome was the influx of medical claims amidst the widely spread fear and uncertainty.”
“Our focus since then has been primarily on providing ongoing client support as the post-pandemic environment continues to linger. It’s a hard and hardening market on all fronts, fuelled by climate change and economic pressures globally. We’ve seen Category Five storms before, and have successfully overcome them, but the increased ferocity, inflation, and change in weather patterns has had a major impact on the industry globally,” she adds.
On the brighter side, the pandemic also brought about opportunities for growth in specialty areas, particularly livestock and agriculture as the Government of Antigua and Barbuda continues its efforts towards food security and self-preservation.
Ms. Nicholas explains, “We are certainly looking to follow the market in terms of the economic drivers that have grown as a result of the pandemic, with a more intense thrust for sustainability. During the pandemic, many entrepreneurs were birthed as an adaptive response to the closures and economic downturn. Persons have responded to the call to invest, take risks, and put themselves out there, starting their own businesses. In response to that increased demand, we’re looking into those specialised areas that we can grow alongside our local economy and continue to support our clients for another 45 years and beyond.”
SICL attributes its success to a solid foundation of core values and its most valuable assets – the people. Core values include trust, respect, communication, integrity, innovation, and teamwork. This is a company that values its collaborative relationships.
Ms. Nicholas shares, “We have enjoyed fruitful, long-standing relationships with our support partners, many of which were in excess of 20 years. These partnerships have given us a competitive edge in the market and allow us to give back to our community through our financial services, products, and work within the community itself. And it’s not only our business partners – we also foster longevity in our client relationships.
“Some of our clients have been on our books for 20, 30, or even 40 years and have brought their children into the brand as well. We have an amazing team with negligible turnover that serves as the foundation of the closely knitted family-oriented culture. We are both proud of and truly humbled by this.”
Having opened a physical office in Barbuda earlier this year, there is a lot of excitement and expectation for the development that is ongoing, Ms. Nicholas concludes. “There is a lot of development ongoing in Barbuda post-Hurricane Maria in 2017. We were servicing the sister isle remotely prior, but the opportunity to establish a convenient office front in the heart of the activity, manned by a warm, responsive and efficient team, was one we could not miss.
“Our presence provides fast turnaround and hands-on support to our clients, giving them the confidence to grow and take risks. Looking ahead, State Insurance has plans to continue evolving alongside market demands in Antigua and Barbuda, supporting stability, resilience, and resource development. Our mission is to be a pillar of security and a necessary comfort throughout our twin island state as we continue to grow and develop as a nation. We will continue to be an unwavering source of protection, enabling our clients to Live in a Better State of Mind.”
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AT A GLANCE
State Insurance Company Limited (SICL)
What: Financial service company offering innovative and cutting-edge financial business solutions to clients throughout Antigua and Barbuda
Where: State Insurance has two office fronts strategically situated in the heart of St. John’s and in the south of the island in the Ebenezer area, as well as a full service office front in Codrington, Barbuda.
Hill & Hill Attorneys-at-Law & Notaries Public – www.lawhillandhill.com
Hill and Hill has been a proud partner to State Insurance for over 30 years. We provide our clients with a unique and superior experience with the highest level of professional integrity, and continually strive to improve our resources and client relations. With State Insurance as our longest working partnership, Hill and Hill showcases our ability and loyalty to our clients and work.
Antigua Computer Technology (ACT) – www.actantigua.com
Since 1989, ACT’s mission statement has been “Bringing our community into the future through technology”. ACT exists for the purpose of helping businesses in Antigua & Barbuda and other Caribbean islands with customized, efficient, innovative, and professional IT solutions. We bridge the digital divide with design, sale, installation, and maintenance of enterprise and consumer solutions.