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September 30, 2011
CLICO policyholders question Judicial Manager

Question after question was raised on Tuesday at a forum where policy holders of CLICO International Life Insurance Limited (CIL) were given a comprehensive update on the financial condition of CIL and the various options considered for restructuring.{{more}}

“Is CLICO seeking a bail out from Caribbean governments?”; “Who will be held responsible for what has happened?”; “How secure is my money?”

Those were some of the many questions posed by members of the audience at the meeting held for local policyholders by Oliver Jordan, Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Consulting Limited, which is the court appointed Judicial Manager for CIL.

In response to one of the questions: “Is CLICO seeking a bail out from Caribbean governments?”, the Judicial Manager confirmed that that was one of the options, but “We are not seeking full funding from all of the governments, there are other options …,” Jordan said in reply.

He further added that if one government decides to provide the funds needed to start the restructuring process, “then we will accept that as a start, because we want to get this process going as soon as possible.”

One policyholder expressed the view that policyholders should not be going to the governments as beggars, as the governments were among those who failed in their responsibility to properly regulate the insurance company. The governments, therefore, now have a responsibility to policy holders, the policyholder opined.

As soon as one question was answered, another quickly followed.

One question which was repeatedly asked was if there was a set time frame for the restructuring process as to when it will be completed.

“I can honestly tell you that there is no set date,” Jordan answered.

He, however, said that he personally hoped that the restructuring would be completed within sixty to 90 days.

“This is why we are having these meetings with policyholders and the various governments so that we can choose which of the restructuring approaches that have been proposed,” he added.

Just as the Judicial Manager took a breath, he was then attacked with a series of questions that had the audience applauding.

Some policy holders expressed disappointment in the local CLICO agents, who they said kept assuring them that their money was safe. One irate person in attendance said it took her almost three months to get an acknowledgement of a letter seeking information on the status of her policy.

“Who dropped the ball? Where did we go wrong? Where were the regulators and Auditors who were were supposed to give an independent assessment?”

“I would like to get a clearer picture of what will be done moving forward, if I decide to continue investing in this new company. It must be clear that somebody is there looking out for the interest of the people,” one concerned policyholder said.

Responding to the three part question, Jordan said that he could not go into the history as to why the situation occurred, but gave the assurance that there will be a different approach in the future.

“From my consultations from the various stakeholders across the region, I know they are looking for a consultative approach,” he said.

The question of who will be held responsible for the financial downfall of the Barbados based insurance company created much discussion among the audience, but the Judicial Manager informed the curious gathering that he was unable to say who, if anyone, will be responsible.

He, however, said that a forensic audit will be conducted by a Canadian auditing firm.

“We wanted to get an independent firm, someone who is not from the region, to conduct that process…

“What comes out of the process I can’t say at this time, but if there are findings, then the necessary steps will be taken, but the key is to establish evidence first,” he advised.

A number of persons who were in attendance expressed some satisfaction and publicly thanked Jordan for bringing them up-to-date on the situation. (AA)