The Caribbean, long a popular incentive destination for insurance groups, looks to be a red-hot destination for 2004 and 2005, according to area hoteliers.

Insurance companies are bringing their incentive business to the Caribbean with “a vengeance,” says Drew Toth, director of marketing and sales at the Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort Hotel in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

A recent incentive trip survey by Insurance Conference Planner magazine (see ICP January/February, page 20) found that the Caribbean is by far the No. 1 choice for international destinations of the 301 agents who participated in the survey. That increased interest is reflected in reports of increased bookings in the region. Mike Crist, director of incentive and insurance industry sales for the Wyndham El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, reports that insurance meeting business is up 25 percent to 30 percent at the El Conquistador over the past year.

A rebounding economy, competitive prices, the region’s proximity to the U.S., and a natural urge to soak up some sun are all factors that are attracting insurance planners to the region. “It’s an attractive value when you add everything into the equation,” says Mark Mosley, division manager, meetings, awards and promotions, Allstate Insurance Co., Irving, Texas.