A report released Monday cites research showing Cuba’s insurance market at $448 million in annual premiums as recently as 2013, with about 80 percent of that property and casualty insurance. Most of the rest is life insurance, with health insurance accounting for a fairly small slice.
“Watch this space for things to come,” said Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the industry-funded Insurance Information Institute. With institute president Robert Hartwig, she is one of the authors of a report on prospects for insurers in Cuba.
“The possibility of developing trade ties with a nation in such close proximity to the United States—a mere 90 miles from Key West, Florida—has captured the attention and imagination of U.S. businesses,” the report said. “And, as they begin to explore the prospect of a future that allows foreign capital to flow into the country, the Caribbean’s largest island, insurers will be among them.”
There are all sorts of hurdles to overcome first, from trade and legal barriers to currency issues, but eventually Cubans may seek greater protection of property from hurricanes and drive more cars that are not classic throwbacks from the 1950s.
“Opportunity may well exist for property/casualty insurers in Cuba but, in the near term, are likely to be limited to travel-related products, agriculture and the hotel industry,” the report said. “Easing of travel restrictions will, of course, encourage more people to visit Cuba, and the accompanying growth in sales of travel insurance will likely usher in the first wave of new business.”