Policyholders want ‘all their money’
The group representing investors and policyholders in the Barbados and Eastern Caribbean operations of the failed CLICO Life Insurance company on Thursday rejected any proposed option that would give them back less than all of their money.
In a strongly worded statement, the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), which was formed in January, said it was ready for a “David and Goliath battle” after evaluating the options presented by the company’s judicial manager, Deloitte Consulting.
“If it appears that policyholders and investors in Barbados and its sister nations in the Caribbean are facing a Goliath, then BIPA is prepared to be their David. BIPA invites all of the 25 000 CLICO and 10 000 BAICO policyholders in Barbados to join with us as we go into battle to get back what is rightfully ours – all our money,” the statement said.
“The alliance will support and join with or, if necessary, take itself whatever action is needed to pursue and recover every last dollar that is owed to the policyholders,” Fowler told Voice of Barbados radio.
She recalled that when she formed the activist group in January, she declared that “we did not want fifty cents on the dollar, ten cents on the dollar or no cents on the dollar; we wanted everything that was owed to us, and that is the hard-earned dollars that (were) due to us, including the interest.
“Today that message is still very much the focus and goal of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance,” she added.
BIPA praised the judicial manager for “sterling and timely work” by the judicial manager, but said that a proposed option that would liquidate the insurance company based on assets found up to July 28 would “disenfranchise” CLICO policyholders in Barbados and countries throughout the Eastern Caribbean by giving them less than 50 cents on the dollar for their investments.
Last week, the judicial manager announced that a forensic audit would be conducted to trace as much as BDS$350 million (US$175 million) in assets on CLICO’s books that could not be accounted for.
But the policyholders group also pointed to other four, “more palatable”, alternatives.
A committee, representing Barbados’s central bank and finance ministry and the Caribbean Development Bank, suggested the governments of each of the affected Eastern Caribbean countries pump various levels of funds into the options.
Putting the blame squarely at the feet of regional governments for ‘culpability, negligence and procrastination’ in the CLICO affair, the group said it was only right for the governments to “pay the price for such abandon and disregard’ and assist in the funding of the proposed solutions.
The group, among the most vocal of all policyholders and investors in the Trinidad-based CL Financial group, said in the statement that it would continue to press for a timely resolution of the crisis.
“We will not abandon those policyholders who are already ‘in the departure lounge of life’ nor all those with heartrending stories of abject poverty thrust upon them after a life of dedicated service to country,” BIPA said. (CMC)