March 28, 2013

PM announces commencement of BAICO Phase II payments

Phase II of the British American Insurance Company (BAICO) policyholders relief program has commenced.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Monday announced in a press briefing that some 2,669 Executive Flexible Premium Annuity (EFPA) and Flexible Premium Annuity II (FPA II) policyholders with balances less than $30,000 across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are expected to receive payment.

A total sum of EC$28.5 million is expected to be paid out in this phase of the payout-plan.

Some 431 Vincentian policyholders are expected to receive payment, totalling EC$5.3 million.

The green light to commence payment, according to Gonsalves, comes following a discussion he had with Trinidadian Minister of Finance Larry Howai that he (Howai), had given instructions for another US$12 million of the US $100 million from the contribution from the Trinidadian government, to be transferred to the relevant account at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) to facilitate payment to BAICO policyholders across the ECCU.

There is a slight change to the payment method used during the first phase which took place in December 2012 Gonsalves said.

“Last time we took a two-week period and started in the Leeward Islands and came down and paid,” he said.

But doing it that way was expensive, Gonsalves explained.

“So what we will do this time and the numbers are smaller, so we will have people make applications to the local BAICO office and then a cheque will follow shortly after,” he said.

It was also announced by judicial manager Brian Glasgow that Flexible Premium Annuity (FPA) policyholders with balances over EC$30,000 would also begin receiving payment.

Last year, over 20,000 FPA policyholders with balances below $30,000 received payment under phase I of the payment plan.

He, however, noted that based on the advice coming from the technical committees, payments will be capped at $150,000, because of the significant amount that some may have.

“There are three over $150,000 and paying these persons would have distorted payment patterns,” Glasgow explained.

Following this phase, and coming off what took place regarding the taking over of traditional life insurance policies by Sagicor and the payments made to Flexible Premium Annuity policyholders in December, some 80 percent of the affected policyholders would have been taken care of.

Although such a large number of persons would have gotten some relief, Gonsalves said that all was not quite well and he was asking those who were yet to receive payment to be patient.

“I was hoping that by now we would have been able to announce EFPA or FPA II where the balance is more than $30,000 would be able to get their monies, but can only do that when we get additional moneys from Trinidad and Tobago.”

This money is in the pipeline, but is yet to be delivered into the account.

Applications are being accepted until June 30th. (DD)