Government’s insurance watchdog, the Financial Services Commission. is to address all issues arising from the CLICO Life insurance debacle following the official closure of Resolution Life Insurance Inc., the company set up to handle payments to CLICO policyholders.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Ryan Straughn, in introducing the resolution – Resolution Life Assurance Company Limited (Transfer of Bonds) Bill, 2020 – to the House of Assembly on Tuesday evening said: “The previous administration introduced a $600 million bond issue in 2017, but in reality this was to protect the directors of the company rather than to benefit the policyholders, so in 2019, this administration set out to be fair to taxpayers and policyholders.
“So after we completed our debt restructuring we realised it made no sense to pay ten times what it was worth on the principal and even more on the interest component.”
He mentioned that the initial payout of policyholders was only expected to last three months in the first instance, but it ended up taking a full year, and noted that ResLife had “managed to engage 78 per cent of the former CLICO policyholders, but now people will have to go to the Financial Services Commission.”
“We wanted to ensure our system worked properly and that matters were clear and understandable and fair to the taxpayers and those directly affected,” the minister explained
But during his presentation, Speaker of the House Arthur Holder had to caution Straughn as he mentioned the recent arrest of the former managing director of CLICO’s Barbados operations, Leroy Parris, reminding him: “I will say to you, and all members of this House, that you should not be calling names of people whose matters are still before the Court and no judgment has been reached as yet.”
Straughn responded: “The Government has dealt with the financial part, and Barbadians will watch with interest what happens judicially.”
Straughn also said the COVID-19 crisis affected part of CLICO’s portfolio that covered the Eastern Caribbean.
He said: “So now we have wound up ResLife, those who had outstanding matters regarding CLICO in those countries will now have to contact the Financial Services Commission. here in Barbados.”