Published On: Thu, Aug 22nd, 2013

Media Launch Of Guardian Group -Feature Address Mr. Jeffrey Mack, CEO Guardian Holdings Limited

Guardian-Jeff-MackWILLEMSTAD - The journey to today began on January/April 2011, which makes it thirty (30) /twenty-six (26) months, twenty-two days to this event; an event which signals a new phase in the history of the largest and most successful financial services group in the English and Dutch Caribbean.

In 2011, the Board and Executive committee participated in the evaluation and assessment of the group and sought to understand and identity how our clients saw us and how that was aligned with how we wanted to be seen and understoodit was then that this journey began.

The journey to today in itself taught us many lessons, lessons that have helped us understand the needs of our clients and communities we serve and the competitive environment in which we operate. This journey has demanded that as a group we recognize and harness the benefits of a strategic focus on our core business in our core markets as one team.

This new focus drove all our business decisions over the past 9 months,  we’ve been very busy, aggressively growing the Group and strengthening our leadership position within key markets.  In the period, we acquired three new subsidiaries – Royal Sun and Antilles in the Dutch Caribbean, Thoma in the Netherlands, and Globe in Jamaica. But that is not the subject matter for today’s conversation with you.  After months of research, planning, and collaboration, we have completed a very challenging task: to create an image that will rightfully represent us to all of our stakeholders. Today is about celebrating our new brand and commitment to our redefined vision and mission.

Our Group is now at a watershed period in its history, and in spite of the challenges of an uncertain global economic future, we are geared for a quantum leap in our growth and success.  We have re-defined our new direction with a new vision, mission and set of core values for the whole Group and articulated a value proposition which sets us apart from our competitors, and which contains all the seeds of our future success.

Our new vision: “To be the customer’s preferred choice in financial planning and insurance” identifies our core competencies and strengths and speaks to our business focus and desired positioning.  To achieve this vision, we have a mission which states: “We shall operate as one integrated, customer-centric company, a company which sees the world through its customer’s eyes and delivers its brand promise consistently at every touch point.”

We took the time to understand our history, a history which for us is more of a legacy of over one hundred and sixty-five (165) years and as we move forward we needed a mission that celebrated this legacy but that was futuristic;  we needed to articulate the state of mind that would be a road map for every member of staff, across all of our nine main member companies. Our mission states that we shall be an “integrated company”, one that is “customer centric ”, and one which  “sees the world through its customers eyes” .  Our IT project is one of the main drivers of this mission and when it is completed our systems and processes would be consistent and congruent thereby providing maximum benefit to our clients.  We will have an even better view of who our customers are and what we need to do to service then more effectively.

With over one thousand of the industry’s best agents, brokers and investment analysts,  our extensive distribution channels go beyond  brick and mortar, for us it is about consistently and reliably serving our customers, building long term relationships and contributing to our communities.

Serving People, Trust, Integrity and Quality define our code of conduct, our guiding principles, and our modus operandi as a Group. We made one change to our core values, Trust has replaced Growth.  The last nine months is evidence enough that growth is important to us as a Group, but the local and global socio-economic environment over the last 5 years at least, calls for a strong focus on Trust in corporate life, and we see this as paramount to our lines of business.  We manage our clients’ risks and naturally trust is essential in that relationship.

I have been asked by many and some of you in the audience may ask, did you really need to rebrand to make these strategic decisions?; The simple answer is yes.  Our new single brand removes the silos, it is a manifestation, a visual representation of a new internal state of being.  Until we achieve this new internal state of being, which is the alignment of our vision, image and corporate culture, we would not have succeeded in re-branding the Group. A new logo is not a new brand, it simply sets the tone for a singular, mindset, the thinking and become one team with one focus.  If companies do not proactively and positively manage their brands, they fall victim to the market defining who and what they are.  This is how misconceptions are being construed and how marketing opportunities are missed.   The corporate brand or the corporate image is a dynamic and profound affirmation of the nature, culture and structure of an organization. Everything an organization does, and does not do, affects the perception of that organization and its performance, products, and services.

Some of our critics will postulate financial instability as the reason for the rebrand but our strength, stability and the performance of our various companies over the years speak for themselves. The “Jamaica Gleaner” newspaper and Mona School of Business selected GHL as winner of the 2003 Gilt Edged Golden Awards for Jamaica and the Caribbean, Most Admired Company in Trinidad and Tobago in 2003 and the Caribbean Company of the Year in 2000. The company has captured awards from the Jamaica Stock Exchange for online reporting in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It was the proud recipient of the Trinidad & Tobago Energy Chamber 2009 Leadership Award for “Sustaining the Environment: Making the Most of Green Opportunities”.

In 2011, Guardian Life of the Caribbean captured World Finance Insurance Company of the year and for an unprecedented 4th time GHL was named World Finance Company of the Decade 2001-2010. For the last 10 years Guardian Life of the Caribbean and Guardian General Insurance has maintained the one of the highest rating categories from A.M. Best and in 2011 and 2012 A.M. Best re-affirmed the financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) and issuer credit ratings (ICR) of “a-” for Guardian Life of the Caribbean (GLOC) and Guardian General Insurance Limited (GGIL). According to A.M. Best, “The affirmation of the ratings of GLOC and GGIL reflect GHL’s stable leverage position and consolidated balance sheet strength, favorable operating results and premium growth over the past several years.”  There is nothing to dispute, Guardian Holdings and its member companies are financial stable and strong.

We have acknowledged the tremendous value of our workforce.  For us, internal branding is as critical to business success. The value added that each individual brings when our everyday actions mirror our public statement is the true essence of a successful organization – a successful people; and it is for these reasons we remain committed to building our staff’s knowledge of the brand and will continue to ultimately engage them in this process.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am thrilled to announce that we, our group has a new logo. A logo that represents all the member companies of the group.  It represents our clients, where they live, where we operate and the financial peace of mind we provide to them.  We have chosen you as partners in the next phase of this journey and I will like to now reveal our new logo and identity to you.  Please join me in taking a look at our new brand identity. Guardian Group

Ladies and gentlemen, this new brand signature will help us stand out from the crowd and will assist us in establishing and deepening our leadership role in all our markets

I am very excited about what this new brand signals for Guardian Group.  We are at the cusp of a new period of outstanding performance.  We have the people, we have the tools, we have the focus and the right approach. I am proud of what we have achieved as a team and would like to thank my executive team for trusting in my vision and working with me to make today a reality.

Thank You

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