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Learn from Grenada – Caribbean countries told

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The importance of mobile phones and of having telephone cables planted underground have been hightlighted as regional insurance executives convened recently.

The advice came from Grenada’s Brenda Hood, the current chairman of the Caribbean Disaster Relief Association (CDERA) as she addressed over 500 insurance professionals at the 2005 Conference of the Insurance Association of the Caribbean in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. {{more}}

Hood, at the June 5 to 8 event, gave a detailed description of how Hurricane Ivan destroyed 10,000 homes and left another 24,000 damaged in her native Grenada.

The CDERA chairman made the point that the road network was not damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ivan and she suggested that the region plan ahead by placing cables underground.

Many of the Caribbean islands served by fixed line provider Cable &Wireless still have the majority of their telephone cables hanging overhead. This makes the telephone systems vulnerable during times of major storms.

Hood also made the point that because the road network stayed intact it helped to accelerate aid, communication, and re-construction after Ivan.

The Grenadian minister said that honesty and integrity must be the hallmark of those offering insurance, which must have a “human face” in times of tragedy. She advocated that the insurance industry should be part of disaster management planning since it helps to guide recovery plans.

She also stated that all Grenadians were encouraged to report any exploitation, especially in areas of labour and the sale of building materials, following catastrophic damage such as “Ivan”.

Joe Sheridan, Chartered Insurance Practitioner at The Insurance Brokers, was the only attendee from St Vincent and The Grenadines at this year’s conference and played a vocal role in the Open Forum discussions and debates.

The 2006 Conference will be held in Jamaica and will bring together insurance companies, insurance brokers, adjusters, regulators, reinsurance brokers and underwriters from throughout the world.

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