The wait for a settlement by policyholders and investors in the collapsed insurance company CLICO International Life is about to be extended even further as the process has hit a new hurdle.
The authorities will not meet the September 30 deadline set by the High Court for payment of the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the approximately 15,000 people who put their money in the insurance company, Vice President of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) Deighton Smith said. And while he is hoping the wait will be over by the end of this year, there is no guarantee.
“The court had advised September 30, which I am certain will not happen, but I am hopeful would happen this year,” Smith told Barbados TODAY Thursday afternoon.
Smith, who also represents BIPA on the boards of the two new replacement companies – New Life Investment Company (NLIC) and Resolution Life (ResLife), said they were awaiting word from the Ministry of Finance on whether the over $300 million had been approved.
“The Government is to provide two instruments – one is a demand note for $215 million and a guarantee for $113 million . . . We are awaiting word from the Ministry of Finance as to whether they accepted those terms and conditions.
“Until those are agreed, there is also a little delay, in that Cabinet has to approve them and then finally Parliament,” the BIPA executive explained.
Smith said a valuation of the CLICO assets had to be done to determine if the company was worth the nearly $330 million estimated by the judicial manager, or if even more money would be required.
He contended that CLICO had failed because it did not have sufficient assets to cover its liabilities and that “the demand note for $215 million was intended to fill the shortfall in terms of the traditional policies and also there is $113 million for the shortfall for the EFPA [Executive Flexible Premium Annuity]”.
The BIPA executive explained that those notes first had to be approved for the funds to be available to pay the policyholders.
Smith recalled that the proposed solution to the CLICO crisis, which was approved by the court, included the provision by Government of bonds to CLICO against the value of the real estate assets held by the company.
He said those assets would go to the holding company – New Life Investment Company.
“That has not been completed yet because the valuation of the portfolio has taken much longer than we had hoped. In order to proceed you have to have a proper evaluation of the portfolio so that we are clear on what is being transferred and that the amounts are accurate.
“We also have to transfer the accounts and the accounts can’t be transferred to the company until that evaluation is complete. And while that is progressing – and it seems we are close to the completion of that – it has taken longer than we would have liked,” the policyholders’ representative stressed.
Smith remained hopeful that the process would be completed by year end so policyholders could finally end their seven-year wait for a resolution.