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Policyholders object to Clico rescue plan

Thursday, August 6, 2015

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados—The High Court is hearing arguments relating to the Barbados government’s rescue plan for the cash-strapped Clico International Life Insurance Company. When the matter began on Tuesday, attorneys representing local and Eastern Caribbean policyholders described the Freundel Stuart administration’s proposal as discriminatory, unlawful and unfair.

Policy holders in the Eastern Caribbean as well as a number of corporate policyholders have objected to the Freundel proposal to take over the collapsed insurance company. The judicial manager, represented by Deloitte Consulting, has taken liquidation off the table and has supported Government’s scheme.

Government has already appointed a board of directors to a new Barbados company which it proposed would take over the operations of the insurance firm and would purportedly look after the interest of local policyholders.

Finance Minister Chris Sinckler had disclosed during his budget presentation in June that the new company, New Life Investment Company Inc (NCLICO), would present fresh affidavits to the court to avoid liquidation.

But prominent Barbadian Queen’s Counsel Sir Richard Cheltenham, representing policyholders in ECCU and attorneys-at-law appearing for corporate policyholders and the individuals from the business community blasted the initiative in its present form.

Caribbean policy holders have been seeking compensation after the Trinidad-based insurance giant, Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) announced in 2009 that it had entered into a multibillion dollar agreement with the T&T government to bail out of the cash strapped company.