Imbert: Lots of quack doctors, fake lawyers

Finance Minister Colm Imbert. - Sureash Cholai
Finance Minister Colm Imbert. - Sureash Cholai

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert has said there are people calling themselves doctors, lawyers and other professions without the proper qualifications.

He was pilotting debate on the Insurance Act (Amendment) Bill in the House Friday.

He said for the first time the new act will seek to restrict the use of words and expressions that connote insurance business and Clause 12 seeks to amend Section 21 of the Insurance Act for clarity, consistency and flexibility for the High Court to make appropriate orders for any breaches.

"I am a registered professional engineer. I have two engineering degrees. But there all sorts of people in this country who call themselves engineers. Some of them never went to school but call themselves engineers.

"It also happens in the legal profession, where persons call themselves lawyers but they have not been called to the bar, and it happens in the medical profession...(where) all sorts of themselves 'Dr This' and 'Dr That.' It is no joke."

Imbert said he has personal evidence of people who call themselves chartered accountants but never completed Association of Chartered Certified Accountants courses or received the certificate.

"So there is a lot of that going on in this country."

He said this will be eliminated with respect to insurers, and if someone is not a registered insurer, they cannot say they are carrying on insurance business.

"That done. And it should have ended a long time ago."

He also said there are auditors who do not meet requirements but who may have been auditing insurance companies and agencies in the past.

"And that has to come to an end."

He said Clause 55 amends Section 136 and specifies that the financial statements of agencies and brokerages are to be audited by an auditor who is fit and proper and a practising member in good standing with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of TT or a similar organisation approved by the Central Bank.

Imbert also said under the 2018 act, only companies incorporated under the laws of TT can apply for registration as an insurer and before the passage of the act, which is not yet law, foreign companies could register as an insurer.

Under the bill foreign insurance companies will be required to incorporate a company in TT. Imbert said this was necessary to protect citizens.

"If something happens, the assets are here and not elsewhere."

He referenced British American Insurance, which was part of the CL Financial bailout.

"We believe that it is long overdue to bring our insurance industry into the modern era, and this regulatory framework, which we are almost at the end of creating, is critical for maintaining a stable and growing insurance sector in TT that engages in safe and sound practices, is fair to policyholders and can successfully weather the financial crisis with minimal disruption."


"Imbert: Lots of quack doctors, fake lawyers"

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