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Policyholders on the offensive

The organisation which represents thousands of CLICO and British American Insurance policyholders in Barbados is readying for fresh battle.

Fresh from her unanimous re-election as President of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance, June Fowler, signalled today that her organisation was planning to “return to its former high profile and push forward with its campaign for a satisfactory and timely conclusion to the catastrophe”.

Additionally, the BIPA official said next week policyholders would be returning to court as they seek to advance their action against CLICO’s directors and officers, the Financial Services Commission and the insurance company’s auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In an update on these issues today, BIPA’s head said members and supporters attending last week’s annual general meeting were informed of progress with the court case, with those involved set to appear in court next Monday, at which time a date will be confirmed for the presentation of the arguments to move the case forward.

She noted that the court “previously granted permission for defendants outside the jurisdiction to be served and this has already been actioned”.

But Fowler also said that after easing Government in the wake of the recent general election, BIPA was ready to intensify its lobby on behalf of policyholders.

“Following the general election, a decision was taken to give time for the Administration to deal with the wider challenges that faced the nation as a whole,” she said.

“However, since to date there had been little evidence that this was happening, the Alliance would now return to its former high profile and push forward with its campaign for a satisfactory and timely conclusion to the catastrophe, which has received a great deal more attention from the authorities in other countries in the region.

“Furthermore, the unnecessary and in many cases devastating hardship being caused by the lack of a solution is also having a negative effect on the economy at large, with spending and saving by policyholders being severely curbed,” she added.

While happy to report “a good level of communication of late with the BAICO judicial manager” and the belief that “on that front progress was being made”, the president said similar success with the CLICO judicial manager was not forthcoming.

She referred to the apparent lack of specific action, and the latest in a long line of vague promises from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler of a solution “soon”.

Fowler said one of the highlights of the AGM was an expression of support by Barbados Association of Retired Persons President, Ed Bushell, who addressed the meeting and made a surprise $10,000 donation “in support of the cause”. (SC)

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