Calvo’s Insurance Underwriters Inc. is poised to open its newest branch in Palau. Calvo’s Palau Insurance Underwriters Inc.’s grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 10 with a cocktail party at the Palau Pacific Resort.

E.J. Calvo sales and marketing manager for Calvo’s Insurance; told the Journal "We’ve been talking to several of our business affiliates in Palau for several years about opening a Calvo’s Insurance branch because of the demand for insurance business. A lot of our friends and business affiliates with other companies have been asking "˜When can we insure with Calvo’s?’ We’ve been talking about opening this branch for a couple years and looking at the market trying to understand the differences between Guam Saipan and Palau."

For the opening of the Palau Branch Calvo’s Insurance took on two partners: Sen. Johnny Reklai senate president of the 7th Olbiil Era Kelulau who has various business interests in Palau; and Jennifer Yano of the Palau Medical Clinic. Calvo’s Insurance is the managing partner. Calvo said Yano and Reklai offer knowledge of the local market in health business and politics. "As partners they also assist with networking."

"The building is owned by Johnny Reklai "" a nice commercial building in downtown Koror and was conveniently located and met all of our needs."

The other tenants in the building also factored into their decision. "Because of the other tenants in the building we thought it was very good. DHL is there as well as a couple of law offices so it is a very professional building."

Calvo said the office would be small with only about three employees. "It’s a small office. We only have a couple of employees because we’ll be working a lot from our Guam operations " he said.

Calvo’s Insurance began doing business from Palau in April from Guam. Calvo said "We’ve already begun writing business. We have a few large health insurance clients and several property clients as well "" some businesses we already insure "¦ and there is much more interest."

He said that not all the services offered on Guam would be available in Palau but there was a lot of interest shown in health insurance. "A lot of the companies in Palau have shown great interest in picking up health insurance for their employees and possibly the government as well. They’re still talking about it " Calvo said. There was also interest in business insurance.

Not all of the inquiries have come from Palau businesses. Calvo said Guam businesses with branches in Palau including Bank of Guam Bank of Hawaii and Triple J Enterprises are interested. Calvo’s Insurance will also offer personal home and auto insurance. "It’s a much smaller market than Guam. There’s much more potential in the business and commercial side. Most homes aren’t insured. Most cars only have liability coverage." Because of the abundance of boats Calvo expects marine coverage to be in high demand.

According to Calvo the opening of a Palau branch is a sign of confidence in the economy.

The business hours have not been finalized. Calvo would not say how much was invested into the Palau office. He said the big investment was the amount of time spent preparing for the opening. "Palau is such a different animal than the Marianas because of the history of typhoons and earthquakes or lack thereof. They hardly have any natural disasters. Earthquakes and typhoons are very seldom. In terms of how we look at things on the insurance side it took some time and a lot of analysis to prepare ourselves for a different market like that."

Besides Palau Calvo’s Insurance is looking to expand into other parts of the region. "We felt that Palau had the most opportunity at this time to expand. Other areas of expansion that we’re looking to include are the Marshall Islands and other areas of the FSM [Federated States of Micronesia]." MBJ