St Lucia seeks to comfort CLICO policy holders

CASTRIES, St Lucia, Monday November 11, 2013, CMC – The St. Lucia government Monday said it would continue to work with other Caribbean countries affected by the collapse of the Trinidad-based insurance conglomerate, Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) in seeking to ease the problems of policy holders.

Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, who is also the finance minister, said that since the collapse of the Trinidad-based CL Financial, the parent company of CLICO in 2009, “CLICO International Life Insurance Limited has experienced serious liquidity problems”.

He said in may 2010, the Registrar of Insurance intervened in the operations of the St.Lucia branch operations and imposed a prohibition to writing any new contract of insurance and to refrain from any action that was adverse to the policyholders.

Anthony said that in April 2011, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed Richard Surage of PKF Professional Services as judicial manager for the branch and that over the past months, the Eastern Caribbean governments and the court appointed judicial managers “have considered several restructuring options and their financing implications.

“We continue to work assiduously with the objective of deriving a regional solution which is optimal for policyholders in all practical circumstances,” Anthony said, adding the St. Lucia government “continues to work closely with the government of Barbados and other OECS governments in an effort to secure the most advantageous and beneficial interest of our policyholders.”

“Government recognises the burden which policyholders have had to endure and the tolerance and patience exhibited thus far.

“Government therefore remains committed to arriving at a practical solution at the earliest. However, the reality of the situation is that the issues surrounding the collapse of CLICO cannot be fully resolved without our regional partners,” he added.

Last year, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that CLICO’s total exposure amounted to 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

He said this would translate in the region of US$800 million in liabilities in CLICO Trinidad, CLICO Barbados and also British American Insurance Company (BAICO).

CLICO operations are being sold off or placed in government custody across its regional markets, a move taken by different countries to protect policyholders after the Trinidad-owned insurance group ran into liquidity troubles at the close of 2008.

CLICO and its parent CL Financial were rescued by the Trinidad government, which is now selling off businesses owned by the conglomerate.

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