Thousands of CLICO International Life Insurance policyholders are eagerly awaiting clarity on their proposed payment plans, following the announcement that the new court-approved company was to close just one year after it was established.
Chairperson of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) June Fowler told Barbados TODAY while she has had initial meetings with top officials of Resolution Life Assurance Company Limited (ResLife), they were yet to outline the full process.
“You must appreciate that the whole legal process has to be dealt with first. So we are waiting for the plan to see how it will run,” she said.
“The main thing is what they have done, which is a crucial step, is to tell people to stop paying the premiums and those who paid after March 31 would be refunded,” added Fowler.
The announcement of the closure of ResLife was made two weeks ago by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who revealed that Cabinet had approved that decision.
Policyholders and claimants are expected to benefit from a settlement package comprised of a $103 million cash payout and $300 million in bonds. This will see eligible policyholders or claimants due less than $20,000 receiving cash and the balance in 15-year bonds.
The Worthing, Christ Church insurance company informed its policyholders today that it had ceased accepting premium payments from all classes of policyholders.
“This is in keeping with the shareholder mandate that ResLife liquidates and dissolves its operations. ResLife will seek to preserve the interest of policyholders by proposing a settlement scheme that compensates eligible policyholders and claimants based on the net cash value of their policy or claim,” the company said.
While delivering her Budget speech PM Mottley said that a payment plan was in place for close to 9,000 policyholders, while an additional 1,400 were to receive at least half of their claims in cash.
The proposed plan, she said, would save Government some $315 million in interest payments alone.
ResLife today said complete details of the proposed settlement scheme would be communicated to policyholders and claimants directly.
No specific date has been announced for ResLife’s closure, but management is working with the regulator and other stakeholders to complete policyholder payments by the end of July 2019.
The closure will impact 32 people, 28 of whom are fulltime.
In addition to refunding all policyholders who made payments after March 31, 2019, the company said in the coming weeks each policyholder would receive official communication advising of the final details of their policies as at March 31, 2019, and the proposed settlement to which they are entitled.
The company also pointed out that town hall meetings would be arranged “shortly” to provide more information on the settlement plan and how it would affect the various types of policyholders.
Fowler told Barbados TODAY that while policyholders were eager to see an end to the debacle, they were now again in a wait and see mode until they receive the promised details.
In the meantime, she said, BIPA has already sent out correspondence to members “asking them to have their questions prepared” so that whatever concerns were not addressed in the communication from the company could be addressed during the planned town hall meetings.
“We believe a lot of questions are going to be coming and people need clear answers and an understanding as to how the various categories of policies are going to be treated. If I get a bond what type is it and can I sell it? Is it tradable in the first year? So those are the kinds of questions that people will have and hopefully they have the answers by the time they have the town hall meeting,” Fowler explained.
“What we need to find out is if that is the same thing for pensioners who are currently getting their monthly pension. How is that going to work, are they going to cease the monthly pension and do a lump sum payout? So those are all questions that we are putting to them to say ‘look, we need a better understanding as to how each category of policyholder will be treated’,” she added.
As for holders of the high-yield Executive Flexible Premium Annuities (EFPAs), Mottley said they would be paid back their principal in special 15-year bonds, but only at an interest rate of 0.25 per cent over that time.
Attempts to get additional information from officials of ResLife on the winding up process and a timeline for each step were unsuccessful.