Insurance Companies now need to know customers’ political links

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Insurance companies in Guyana have now made it mandatory for customers to declare their political affiliations when applying for any type of insurance packages.

Customers are being presented with an application called the ‘Customer Verification Form’ which requires them to reveal personal information, including their relationship with government officials, military officials, politicians and political parties.

Checks made by the News Room on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, revealed that companies such as Hand-in-Hand, Assuria, and Nafico have implemented the requirement.

The People’s Progressive Party, however, has since expressed that the requirement is unconstitutional and demanded that the Government urgently address the matter.

According to a statement issued by the PPP on Monday (February 12, 2018), the requirement refers to Recommendation 12 of FATF and the 2015 AMLCFT Amendment Act and regulations with regard to “Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)”.

This section states “a politically exposed person (PEP) is defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function. Due to their position and influence, it is recognised that many PEPs are in positions that potentially can be abused for the purpose of committing money laundering (ML) offences and related predicate offences, including corruption and bribery, as well as conducting activity related to terrorist financing (TF). These requirements are preventive (not criminal) in nature, and should not be interpreted as stigmatising PEPs as such being involved in criminal activity. Refusing a business relationship with a PEP simply based on the determination that the client is a PEP is contrary to the letter and spirit of Recommendation 12.”

The PPP is arguing, however, that the definition does not require any citizen to state their political party affiliation.

The Party explained also that no law has been passed in the National Assembly authorizing agencies to engage in the collection of such information.

Further, the PPP asserted that if any such law were to exist, it would be in violation of Article 149 (1) (a) of the Guyana Constitution which unambiguously states that: “No law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.”

As such, the PPP called on the governing administration and related entities to provide clarification.

The Party said if one’s declaration of political affiliation is not a requirement, then insurance companies should be advised to remove the question from their application forms.

 

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