BIPA: Nothing to celebrate
The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) today called on Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to make good on his promises to its membership, while warning that they were currently in no mood to participate in this month’s 50th anniversary of independence celebrations.
“For them, it will be the seventh consecutive year of Independence, and the seventh Christmas and New Year they have faced with endless unfulfilled promises of the return of their savings and investments,” said BIPA in a statement in which it called on Sinckler to move with “utmost urgency” to ensure that a settlement is reached.
Addressing the annual Domestic Financial Institutions conference at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in September, Sinckler had himself expressed disappointment at the rate at which the CLICO restructuring process was taking place, while promising to give the matter his full attention to ensure a resolution by yearend.
“I can assure you in a couple weeks I will be issuing an appropriate statement . . . to indicate the timeline which we have now determined that transition should be complete. And with it of course the resumption of the payment of the various awards of premiums and so on,” Sinckler said at the time.
BIPA said there was “a flicker of hope” at the time that announcement was made. However, it lamented that several weeks have since passed and the Minister of Finance’s promise was yet to be fulfilled.
“It adds insult to injury that policyholders are now expected to try and enjoy the 50th anniversary celebrations against a background of the anguish, stress and uncertainty this debacle has created for them and their families over the last seven years,” BIPA said.
In fact, it was revealed that in the last year alone, four of its members had died without knowing if their dependents would be taken care of “in the manner they had so carefully planned”.
While commending the work being done by the two companies set up to take over the assets and insurance business of CLICO, BIPA pointed out even though a plan was already in place for the transfer of British American policies to Sagicor, final approval and execution awaits the outcome of a court case.
The legal action has been brought by an individual corporate policyholder, whose class of policy in BAICO was to be discarded with no value, unlike similar corporate policies in CLICO which will receive shares in the new company.