‘Living with COVID and flourishing with COVID’

The Sagicor Group says it has used the COVID-19 crisis to ramp up its innovations in the insurance and banking sectors, and continues to participate in stimulating the economy, while protecting its staff and clients.

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christopher Zacca says the company moved swiftly to implement all the health and social safety measures, putting in place an internal task force, to mount those safeguards.

“I am very proud of what we have done. We ramped up all of our electronic means of dealing with clients we had those in place but we improved them and rolled them out in a bigger way,” Zacca said during a virtual Jamaica Observer Press Club last week, ahead of Monday’s start of the company’s observance of its 50th anniversary.

“We have pivoted and we are using the phrase ‘Living with COVID and flourishing with COVID’. We are developing the protocols for a mix of work-from-home and return-to-work as the economy opens up. We are pushing additional innovations in technology that will further serve our clients,” he said.

Zacca noted that the group had also forged a partnership with the University of Technology, Jamaica which sees 17 teams undergoing an innovation challenge, in tandem with an internal innovation initiative in which team members create ideas and design innovative strategies to deal with the new normal of COVID-19.

“Overall, we are doing very well, actually, considering the circumstances,” he remarked, pointing out that the pandemic has accelerated digitisation and innovation, to accomplish in a matter of months what was projected over the next year or two.

Sagicor Group Chairman Peter Melhado agrees that crisis has yet again proven to be a driving factor behind innovation.

“I’m really proud of how the team has responded… we have moved mountains in an incredibly short time, and if there is one thing business people have taken away from all this is that perhaps things that we thought would take a long time have taken a lot shorter time than we thought they ever could. We have been able to continue our service uninterrupted to our clients,” he stated.

Melhado pointed out that in his over three decades in business, the phenomenon of COVID-19 has been the most remarkable of world events, propelling change.

“In my 35 years of business I’ve never seen anything like this. I think this phenomenon is singular… just looking at it on a macro scale it’s probably one of the deepest and challenging events for a long time, in world history, and in that context the industry has had to take it very seriously,” Melhado said.

He said that as leaders in the insurance and banking industry, Sagicor has a strong responsibility to protect its clients.

“We have a huge responsibility as part of the economy to make sure we are strong and we protect everybody that does business with us. We have been quite conservative in how we manage this, keeping our capital up as high as we have ever had… but at the same time we are conscious of the fact that we have to keep the economy moving, so we haven’t retreated; we are still participating in the economy. The bank is still lending; we are making investments,” he outlined, stressing that these critical activities are continuing conservatively, as Sagicor undertakes the balancing act of protecting itself, while ensuring the security of its customers, and the wider economy.”

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