Published On: Tue, Aug 28th, 2018

Dutch finance minister stays out of ENNIA issue

ENNIA Curacao-DTHE HAGUE - Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra is not getting involved in the supervision of the Dutch Caribbean insurance firm ENNIA by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS).

“Curaçao and St. Maarten are, just like the Netherlands, autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom that are responsible for their own government, regulations and legislation. The CBCS resorts under the responsibility of the governments of Curaçao and St. Maarten and the activities of ENNIA in Curaçao and St. Maarten are under the supervision of the CBCS,” stated Minister Hoekstra.

He replied on Monday to the written questions posed by Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Joba van den Berg and Erik Ronnes, both of the Christian Democratic Party CDA, to which Hoekstra also belongs.

Van den Berg and Ronnes had expressed concern following media reports mid-July that the CBCS had placed ENNIA under supervision. The Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted Hoekstra to ask why the CBCS hadn’t intervened earlier, considering the persistent negative reports about ENNIA. They also enquired about consequences of the current situation for the insurance clients in relation to paying out their claims associated with Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Hoekstra stated that it was not up to him to ask the CBCS for clarity or to provide such regarding the insured clients’ situation, considering that the CBCS was the supervising entity regarding banking and insurance affairs in the autonomous countries Curaçao and St. Maarten. “I also don’t have any information on this,” he added.

As for the involvement of the Dutch Central Bank DNB, Hoekstra explained that the bank’s responsibility for supervision of the insurance company was limited. And, as ENNIA has its headquarters in Curaçao, the prudent supervision rests with the CBCS.

DNB only has responsibilities for the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. “DNB’s supervision is limited to integrity, governance and management, and only for activities on or from the branch offices in the Caribbean Netherlands,” he clarified.
MPs Van den Berg and Ronnes asked whether DNB had sounded the alarm.

Based on the Caribbean Netherlands financial markets law, DNB has an obligation of confidentiality which serves to limit the possible damaging consequences for the involved institution and the clients. As such, stated Hoekstra, in principle he cannot provide answers to questions about the nature of warnings by DNB and possible steps that were taken.

He reminded the MPs that DNB, as part of its limited supervisory tasks in the Caribbean Netherlands, had asked the CBCS late 2013 for information in response to reports about problems at ENNIA. This resulted in an investigation at ENNIA. DNB sent its findings in a confidential report to ENNIA in June 2015.

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