Sunday 20th May, 2007


Career agents give better advice

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The Caribbean Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers (Caraifa) meets yearly in a Caribbean territory for its Annual General Meeting and Congress. The objective is to facilitate a meeting of the minds of major stakeholders in insurance and financial services delivery.

Caraifa was founded in 1977. The Secretariat is in Jamaica. Its purpose is to stimulate the educational and overall growth and development of the individual.

This week when we meet in St Lucia, a new president will be elected, and we are lobbying for a Trinidadian. Member countries include, Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St Lucia, Cayman Islands, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and T&T.

The backbone of Caraifa is its education programmes. Caraifa is a franchise holder with the American College, a tertiary education campus in Philadelphia that administers distance programmes administered by trained moderators in the region.

Trained professionals

The education courses at the T&T Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers, our local association, are supplied by Caraifa and are designed to train insurance agents and financial planners in areas such as Needs analysis, Retirement planning, Income taxation, Wealth Creation, and other disciplines.

After passing a requisite number of courses, it is imperative that a course in Ethics be completed by students in order to be awarded the designation LUTCF—to become a Fellow of the Life Underwriters.

Courses out of Caraifa are geared to foster the education of the financial services professional along the same measurables throughout the region. Caraifa thus creates a cadre of professionals who can work within the context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

In addition, because our courses originate in the United States they meet international standards in education and best practice criteria. We, therefore, have a cadre of trained professionals in the industry, regionally.

All of this is important because your money must be well invested. It is best to do your business with a trained adviser.

One of the problems we have in the industry is the existence of a few individuals who are in it for the mere purpose of making a fast buck, and who tarnish the image of the industry.

Career agents take the time and spend the money for professional training. They are better able to tender sound financial advice, and are more likely to be selfless and customer oriented.

When individuals invest in their own education, they signal they are in for the long haul, and intend to make a career out of financial planning. That is the kind of individual you need to work with.

More and more we live in a climate of uncertainty, and we hear more reports of individuals who tender bad advice, and are unethical. We need to be careful!

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