Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivered promising news for entrepreneurs on Wednesday when he revealed that the government has been in talks with the insurance industry, seeking a way for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to be able to access affordable insurance packages, especially liability insurance.
Turnquest made the announcement while revealing that Canadian commercial banks Scotiabank and RBC Royal Bank of Canada have joined the Access Accelerator/ Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as funding partners. He also revealed that the new funding partners have brought the initial funding for entrepreneurs up to $9 million from $5 million.
Turnquest acknowledged that access to liability insurance for small tour operators has largely been a challenge.
“On the tourism side, we know that there are some heavy insurance requirements because you’re dealing with the public, you’re dealing with a litigious society that most of our guests come from, so there is a significant requirement for insurance,” Turnquest said.
“We’ve had some initial conversations with insurance industry stakeholders about this, and we are hopeful that we will be able to develop a program that sees some subsidy or support that will help us to lower the cost of obtaining that kind of insurance and thus give access to our local service providers.”
Cruise ship operators, who bring the bulk of tourists to The Bahamas, often require tour operators to have $1 million in liability insurance in order for their tour packages to be sold onboard the ship.
One insurance provider told Guardian Business that it could cost a small tour operator from $10,000 to $15,000 to access an insurance premium as high as $1 million.