The battle to represent more than 10,000 British American Insurance Company (Barbados) Limited policyholders is about to intensify.
Almost six months after failing to get the Barbados High Court to give it a seat at the table with Judicial Manager David Holukoff, the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance has scored a preliminary victory.
BIPA has now been granted leave to appeal the decision before a Court of Appeal panel.
The decision was made by Justice of Appeal Andrew Burgess, despite his view that “BIPA has not established that there is a realistic prospect of success of the intended appeal before the Court of Appeal”.
That organisation, which is also representing an estimated 27,000 CLICO International Life Insurance policyholders, had applied to join the judicial management proceedings initiated by the Financial Services Commission against BAICO.
While noting that the arguments on both sides were tremendously persuasive, the judge said the case “undeniably raises for the first time at least the narrow but important question of who, other than the Supervisor of Insurance and the company in question, may be parties in judicial management proceedings after the appointment of a judicial manager”.
“The intended appeal affords an opportunity for the Court of Appeal to clarify the law on this matter,” court documents from the case stated.
Although BIPA was granted permission to appeal the May 2012 denial, the court said the “joinder test” relied on in arriving at that decision was the correct one and that policyholder representatives had not shown that the judge in exercising her discretion “was blatantly, clearly or plainly wrong”.
BIPA, which was represented in court by attorney-at-law Tariq Khan, had sought to join the FSC in the judicial management matter on seven grounds.
This included that it was representing the interests of policyholders, BIPA was directly affected by the actions of BAICO, its directors, employees and/or agents, BIPA had a series of legitimate claims against BAICO, it had “a more than arguable claim against BAICO” as has been evidenced through the reports of the Judicial Manager responsible for the management of BAICO, and that it “must be part of the process in drawing up and providing solutions that will properly compensate policyholders”.
“BIPA claimed that, for the foregoing reasons … it is desirable for it to be added so that the court can resolve all the matters in dispute in the judicial management proceedings,” the court said.
“BIPA further claimed that the issues in which it has an interest are connected to the matters in dispute in the judicial management proceedings and it is desirable that it should be added so that the court can resolve the said issues.” (SC)