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Hurricane hit residents take to social media about slow payment of Insurance Claims



By Deandrea Hamilton



#TurksandCaicos, November 28, 2022 – Just over two months after Hurricane Fiona, residents are still languishing they say, waiting for reasonable insurance payouts and the frustration is giving way to public outcry on social media, where adjusters and at least one insurance company is named as being unfair and unresponsive when it comes to the claims process.

“…clients of  ——  have yet to receive their claims.  The insurance company is not communicating effectively nor responding to emails and telephone calls,” said one report.

Just a few weeks ago, Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition issued a statement calling for a national education campaign on home insurance.  In the report, the Grand Turk South, Member of Parliament uncorked a string of dilemmas facing home owners who are being told they are underinsured.

“The experience of seeking a pay-out from the insurance companies has been a stressful, disappointing, and an eye-opening experience for many homeowners. Many expressed the feeling of being grossly uninformed and lacking needed knowledge about their insurance policies, especially those who got insurance through their banking institutions.

A common mistake that some homeowners make is not to insure their property for the full replacement value, thus creating the issue of underinsurance, and as a result, if an insured peril causes damage to the home or its contents are stolen, the claim may be subject to the application of the average clause.”

The Grand Turk resident said some are having to dig into life savings and come up with tens of thousands of dollars to replace their homes which were damaged in the September 20, Category one hurricane. He was concerned that so many residents find themselves ill-equipped to bounce back, within reasonable time from a severe encounter with hurricane or other emergencies.

“Insurance data points out that many homes in the Turks and Caicos are underinsured, with there also being many homes uninsured. That should be a major concern for the Government, the homeowners, and for the insurer, especially given that risks from climatic events such as hurricanes and flooding become more adverse annually,” said Astwood.

There was some advice to avoid underinsurance from the MP; he said, “Insure your property for its replacement value rather than market value; ensure that all of your contents are included in your policy and Review insurance policies annually.”

On the latter point, the LOO sharedgiven that the replacement value of the property may change due to inflation associated with construction costs or home improvement projects implemented.  This regular audit of your insurance, at the time of your renewal or at any point during the policy year, assists to ensure that your property is fully covered in the event of loss by an insured peril.”

While the TCI Government participates in the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, (CCRIF) it is not in the practice of handing out funds or materials for reconstruction of personal dwelling homes after a storm or fire.  It may be among the reasons the Opposition Leader and others are now demanding attention for the issue; calling for concerns to be elevated and public understanding to be taken on as a national priority.

People also believe insurance companies need to be held accountable or exposed when dealing unfairly with policy holders.

“One client/customer of ——— insurance for many years told us they were shocked and embarrassed when they submitted their claim for their property after the hurricane to receive an insulting response that they have no claim to receive after losing the majority of their properties in the hurricane.”

Astwood informed the public education and awareness could be led by the Ministry of Finance or regulated through the Financial Services Commission for the banks and insurance companies servicing the marketplace.

“I cannot underscore more the importance of having complete home insurance, as I learned the lesson personally in the past.  It is a bad idea for homeowners not to have insurance or to be underinsured.

More must be done and should be done in protecting against our people being blindsided by insurance adjustments, and more must be done in educating our people about insurance claims, policies, and procedures. In this vein, after essential discussions with relevant stakeholders the necessary consumer protection legislation will be introduced, passed, gazetted and relevant information will be published on the appropriate government website to ensure greater protections and transparency for the people of the Turks and Caicos.”

Astwood, as leader of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) promised his party would make the matter paramount.


Airports Authority aims for 24-hour airport and announces Scholarship programme



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#TurksandCaicos, April 19, 2024 – In an attempt to move to 24-hour-a-day operations Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is steadily recruiting Air Traffic Controllers to work at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International Airport, according to Godfrey Smith, TCIAA CEO, reporting to the Appropriations Committee.

Speaking on April 8th Smith said a cabinet paper would be sent soon requesting six more Air Traffic Controllers to make round the clock operation at the Provo International possible and to open the airport in Grand Turk till 12 a.m.

Currently, 17 posts are filled and seven are vacant.

Smith was candid with his responses to recent industrial action from ATCs which led to resignations and firings.

“What we have to do is find systems to mitigate such actions and that has to start with filling these jobs, putting people in that want to work and doing right by people – and we always try to do right by our staff. Persons may not think that we are but we always do – we ain’t pick no fight,” he said in the meetings held at the NJS Francis building ahead of the National Budget Communication.

Smith indicated that recruitment was an issue across the board, ‘we need to find ways to recruit a little bit better’ he told the committee. Also in need of a push was capital spending or projects according to the CEO, who said the agency had ‘not been very good’ at meeting that mark but insisted they had recognized the issue and could do better.

A very important key performance indicator drawn up by the TCIAA is increasing passenger satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. For the TCIAA part of this means a 30 percent increase in seating by Q2 of this year.

When queried on if they could even handle this increase the CEO said,

“The fact of the matter is we already have the capacity there. What we need is to make the service a bit better.”

Staff shortages have become such a frustrating issue that the TCIAA is instituting a scholarship program created by Authority Chairman, Selvyn Hawkins

“What the board wants to do is basically allocate $25,000 annually for a scholarship and they’ve approved it already.”

This process would cover tuition and all other costs for one student.

The student would return as a summer intern and other breaks to work at the TCIAA and upon graduation, assume a role at the company.

“We identify a particular skill we need, we go after it and we build capacity that is in a nutshell the nexus of the program,” Smith said.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is allocated $49 million this financial year; over $20 million goes to salaries.

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Flow TCI offers Gigabyte Speeds to Customers



Company delivers fastest speeds nationwide and boosts service reliability


PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, APRIL 19th, 2024 – More connections, faster speeds and greater support for customers. This is the promise from communications and entertainment provider, Flow TCI, as it embarks on an initiative to provide households with enhanced connections, greater overall reliability and now, for the first time, speeds up to one gigabit person second.

FLOW TCI Country Manager, Joanne Missick shared: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We listen to our customers and want to exceed their demands, so we are focused on delivering unmatched value with customer centric products and services that are future proof. Flow subscribers on our Fibre Extreme package can now access up to one gigabyte speeds and subscribers on our Fibre Plus and Fibre Max package, as of April 1st, are also now benefitting from up to 5x more speeds.”

This is third speed boost for Flow customers in the last two years. This comes under the umbrella of the the Company’s recently launched “Working for You” campaign, where technicians are going into the neighborhoods across the island to conduct repairs, decommission copper cables, and increase the brand’s visibility in local communities.

“To date several neighborhoods have been served by technicians and the company will continue to go across the islands to ensure each neighborhood receives personal attention. We recognize that over the past few months some customers have experienced issues with the quality and delivery of our services. This is not what we stand for. Flow remains committed to providing technology and innovation that enables growth and positively impacts lives”, says, newly appointed Head of Technical Operations, Simeon Thomas.

Thomas adds, “We have been closely monitoring and reviewing every aspect of our network and there is room for improvement across each of the islands. Where we find shortcomings, we are taking concrete actions and assigning our technicians to rapidly make all necessary adjustments and improvements for our customers”.

Flow has made significant investments in expanding and modernizing its infrastructure and delivering a more robust and reliable network paving the way for the country’s digital transformation.

For more information on speed increases visit on our website.

Thank you for your usual assistance in sharing our stories.

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Harold Charles, Appointed Member to the HOA, goes out with a Bang 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, April 19, 2024 – In an explosive, self-proclaimed, final budget speech to the people of the Turks and Caicos, Harold Charles, Governors Appointed Member is expressing frustration that many Turks and Caicos Islanders are locked out of top jobs in the country and unable to build wealth.

”I’ve been in this country for 50 years and I’ve noticed all those big developments that come in— the majority of [managers]are foreign people. After 50 years, when are we going to have Belongers manage those businesses?” Charles asked.  “I’m upset, I’m frustrated [this is] their home.  They have nowhere else to go—- If we don’t empower our Turks and Caicos Islanders we will never get out of living paycheck to paycheck.”

Charles echoed what thousands of locals have been saying for years about the failure of successive governments to get the economic success in the country on a level that residents can participate in it.  The member maintained that not only were many locals working for scraps overseas and at home, but that it was the prerogative of the government to create avenues for them to move upward.

”I know the government’s heart is in the right place but somehow we’re not getting it together.  I’m talking (about) both PDM and PNPs. It must change.  There are many islanders overseas taking crummy jobs when all this opportunity is in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Calling on the government to enforce laws which allow islanders to get a foothold in lucrative industries, Charles maintained that TCIG could not let investors come and do as they liked.

”We have all these big companies making millions.  They brag about how much they’re making, yet how much do they contribute to the development of our people?”

Charles encouraged the government to mandate that locals were hired in the large developments, taking place across the country.

Capital projects and their execution was another issue that the member highlighted

”Over the past three years in office, we seem to be dragging our feet when it comes to the execution of projects,” he said, “the last budget reflected bitter-sweet sentiment.”

The government managed to spend $29 million of a $57 million capital project budget in 2023/24 financial year.

“Mr. Speaker prior, we promised the people infrastructural investment, improved roads, ease with doing business with TCIG, more scholarships, increased home care, a $900,000 special needs school.”

The Appointed member was also frustrated with the amount of money being allocated to crucial areas including the absence of allocations for a special needs school.

”We were promised that no Turks and Caicos Islander would be left behind while I appreciate the government’s commitment to ensuring this. I am concerned that the relatively low level of funding allocated to education and infrastructure may hinder the effectiveness of effort,” The member stressed.

Closing his speech, Charles maintained that it was “crucial that the sectors receive additional support in order to provide citizens with the necessary resources and opportunities for their development.“

Mr. Speaker it is imperative that we allocate our resources adequately and streamline processes to enhance the ease of doing business with the Turks and Caicos Government. We must priortise increasing service delivery capacity in critical departments such as the customer service department, the register of records, the department of motor vehicles and the list goes on,” express Charles.

Charles reminded that there is a growing demand on the services TCIG provides, especially as the country enjoys unprecedented, year on year, exponential economic growth.

Charles alongside Jameka Williams (Government Appointed Member) Willin Belliard (Governor’s Appointed Member number one) and Alvin Garland (Opposition Appointed Member) will very likely be the last set of appointed members in the House of Assembly of the Turks and Caicos as it transitions to a wholly elected parliament.

Harold Charles indicated it was unlikely he would join any leadership race describing the 2024-2025 Budget contribution as likely his final.

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