Court gives policyholders' group a say in CLICO affairs
A small but welcomed victory came today for the estimated 20,000 policyholders of CLICO International
Life Insurance Limited (CIL).
The High Court this morning issued an order appointing the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) as their representative body in future proceedings dealing with the affairs of the company.
Attorney for BIPA, Queen’s Counsel Alair Shepherd told Barbados TODAY the court order permits the policyholders to be legally represented during the hearings in which the judicial manager, Deloitte Consulting, will seek to have the court approve its final recommendations regarding the fate of CLICO.
Hearing on those recommendations is set for April 17.
“It is hereby ordered that . . . the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance Inc (BIPA) be appointed representative party on behalf of all the individual policyholders of the respondent, CLICO International
Life Insurance Limited, for the purpose of any hearing . . . save and except those who indicate in writing that they wish to be represented by another party,” Justice William Chandler said as he delivered his ruling this morning.
Chairperson of BIPA June Fowler welcomed today’s court ruling.
“We are happy. It means that we have a voice in the proceedings going forward as a representative for the policyholders,” she told Barbados TODAY after the judgement was handed down.
The order will also allow BIPA to have legal counsel argue on its behalf when the court hears an application by the judicial manager which is requesting that the seal be removed from the forensic audit report.
That report should reveal the various financial transactions involving CLICO Life, as well as those of the judicial manager.
Three weeks ago when the BIPA officials and their attorney appeared in court requesting a date for their application to be heard, Shepherd noted that counsel for the judicial manager had always taken the view that interested parties could not take any part in the proceedings until the court was considering the final report.
“So until that consideration is taking place, it has always been the position of counsel for the judicial manager that we cannot be heard,” he said at the time. While BIPA is counting today’s court judgement as a victory, the group has a bigger legal battle on its hands.
It is suing the directors, auditors, the Financial Services Commission and former executive chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited Leroy Parris for, among other things, negligence which led to thousands of policyholders standing to lose substantial sums of money.
Meanwhile, the judicial manager is suing Parris over a $3.3 million payment which they claimed he was
not entitled to. Parris has filed a counter-action.