BAICO policyholders face fresh setback

Just when they thought the long wait for the payment of outstanding claims was nearing an end, the 13,000 policyholders of the collapsed British American Insurance Company (BAICO) are facing yet another setback.

Chairman of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) June Fowler the policyholders had been looking forward to the final handover of policies to Sagicor on May 31, as outlined in the High Court approved judicial manager’s final report dated December 31, 2016.

But nothing has been easy for the shareholders, for whom Government has made provision of $.96 million in this year’s Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue.

“BIPA was unnerved by the appearance in the press on Wednesday 24 May of a paid advertisement placed by the Judicial Manager stating that, ‘due to further discussions with Sagicor and the Government of Barbados, the transfer cannot be executed by this date,’” she lamented.

Fowler said BIPA had been advised that the judicial manager would return to court on May 31 to give an update on the situation.

However, the advocate is questioning the need for an update on this crucial date, other than to confirm that the transfer has taken place.

“What further discussions could Sagicor and the Government still be having at this 12th hour?”  Fowler asked.

She however made it clear that BIPA would be present in court to ensure its members are kept abreast of the developments.

The advocacy group’s head referred to a media report on May 4, in which the chief operating officer and general manager of Sagicor Life Inc Edward Clarke was quoted as saying he was eager to see a resolution before the end of the year and that he was hoping policyholders of BAICO would be given some good news within another month.

However, he was quoted as stating that a lot of time had passed and a lot of things had changed since negotiations started.

 “I am now concerned about the connection between the statement that ‘a lot of things have changed’ and the non-specific push-back of the completion date of 31 May,” she added.

 “Payments of outstanding claims were due to commence within the next few weeks and I will say without reservation that to ask policyholders to wait any longer without good reason after all these years of waiting is completely unacceptable,” Fowler pointed out.

She had no doubt that the court would thoroughly investigate the reason for the delay and ensure that whatever action is necessary to get things back on track will be taken with all due haste.

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