BIPA warns Govt delay in CLICO restructuring can devastate policyholders
The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) is warning the Freundel Stuart administration that it will be responsible for devastating the livelihoods of more than 20,000 people if it fails to follow through on a restructuring plan for CLICO by April 17.
BIPA president June Fowler said on that date Deloitte Consulting, the judicial manager for the collapsed insurance company, would be asking the High Court to sanction liquidation when it presents its final recommendations – a move the group plans to fight.
Cabinet approved a restructuring plan since March 27, 2014 but no progress had been made.
Fowler said the only reason liquidation was being pursued by the judicial manager is because of Government’s failure to act on its plan.
“Government has procrastinated and prevaricated for much too long, despite having a clear and viable action plan before them which they have unambiguously approved,” she stressed.
“If they do not bring tangible evidence of that plan being put into action before April 17, CLICO will go into liquidation and Government will be directly responsible for the devastation of the livelihoods of over 20,000 policyholders,” she added, following a BIPA meeting last night at the Hilton Resort, the first since the alliance was appointed by the court earlier this week as official representative of CLICO policyholders.
At that meeting, the policyholders declared a resounding “no” to liquidation.
Chastising Government for not implementing the restructuring plan earlier, Fowler added: “If the Government had taken the action detailed in the Cabinet-approved restructuring plan, we would not be facing the catastrophic consequences of liquidation, which will likely result in less than 20 cents on the dollar for policyholders.”
The BIPA head said despite constant reassurances from the Ministry of Finance and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler himself that action would be taken on the plan and initial funding would be provided before the end of last year, nothing had materialized.
“Consequently, CLICO ran out of cash and had to cease payment of pensions, ring fence premium payments and proposed liquidation as the only remaining option,” pointed out the policyholders’ spokesperson.
She referred to the Prime Minister’s promise that the policyholders would get back their principal and the Minister Sinckler’s recent remarks that “policyholders would be made whole”.
Fowler also recalled the Finance Minister’s “bold” official statement on December 18, 2014, that “any attempts to place CLICO International Life or its associated companies into liquidation will therefore be premature, unwarranted and unnecessary”.
She concluded by quoting from one of the Prime Minister’s favourite philosophers, Plato.
“He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it,” Fowler said.