Insurance in Cuba: Asistur and Starr Companies

asistur-insurance-havanaThe Asistur head office on del Prado in Havana. Photo: Cuba Business Report staff.

Starr Companies announced back in July of 2016 they had signed a Letter of Intent with Cuba’s Asistur S.A. “Asistur,” a company which has long been selling insurance to Cubans and foreign nationals.

Asistur SA offers a variety of insurance policies to its customers including travel insurance for tourists, health insurance for foreigners with temporary residence in Cuba (expats), and payment of bail bonds, automobile and property insurance. Asistur is a member of the Grupo CAUDAL group of companies.

In light of the increased interest of companies to open up shop in Cuba and the soaring number of American tourists visiting, such a venture and partnership is wise in the reflection of expanding opportunities.

The relationship between Starr Companies and Cuba has been in place for a long period of time.  It reaches back as far as 1943 when Starr Companies established its international headquarters in Havana.  Starr Companies’ headquarter office was open in Havana for almost 15 years.  In 1961, the company relocated to Bermuda after relations between the US and Cuba came to a halt.

In October, the Starr Foundation made a $25,000 grant to Oxfam America to assist the victims of Hurricane Mathews, especially those left homeless by the powerful storm.  Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman of the Foundation and Chairman and CEO of the Starr Companies said of the assistance,

“The Starr Foundation has a long history of supporting relief efforts in areas around the world affected by natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and flooding, and the Foundation’s history of giving in the Caribbean is well-established.”

“We hope this is the beginning of a new and more vigorous program in Cuba.  From the earliest days of the Starr Companies, we have had a long history in Cuba, where the companies’ international headquarters were located until 1961. The Foundation was not able to include Cuba in its areas of giving in the past, but we are looking forward to deeper relations now that diplomatic relations have been restored. This donation expresses our concerns and desire to help those displaced by Hurricane Matthew and our deep affection for the Cuban people.”

In July of 2016 a Letter of Intent was signed by Starr Companies and Asistur SA,  the following is from the original press release.

Starr Companies announced today that Assist Card Smalline S.A. “Assist Card,” a wholly owned subsidiary, signed a Letter of Intent with Asistur S.A. “Asistur,” domiciled in Cuba, to provide travel assistance services to the growing number of authorized travelers to Cuba.

Assist Card and Asistur signed the agreement during a recent visit by the Cuba Consortium to Havana, Cuba. “Agreements like these are important steps in expanding trade relationships between U.S. and Cuban companies,” says Maurice R. Greenberg, Chairman, Starr Companies. “We look forward to continued efforts.”

The Cuba Consortium is a nonprofit organization  formed to advance sound foreign and domestic policies for U.S. – Cuban relations. It is guided by an advisory board, co-chaired by former Senators Nancy Kassebaum Baker (R-Kansas) and Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota). The board comprises former officials, thought leaders and international business leaders including Mr. Greenberg, a founding member.

“We are at the beginning of what could be new opportunities as Cuba and the United States explore ways of ending years of travel and trade restrictions,” Greenberg says. “Starr is committed to assisting clients that wish to explore their own opportunities in Cuba.”

Author: Zoe Veraz

Zoe Veraz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to the Cuba Business Report.

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