CASTRIES: The Government of St. Lucia has announced that it will continue to work with other Caribbean countries affected by the collapse of the Trinidad-based insurance conglomerate, Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO), in seeking to ease the problems of policy holders.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, who is also the finance minister, said that since the collapse in 2009 of the Trinidad-based CL Financial, the parent company of CLICO, “CLICO International Life Insurance Limited has experienced serious liquidity problems”.
Dr. Anthony said that in May 2010, the Registrar of Insurance intervened in the operations of the St. Lucia branch operations and imposed a prohibition to writing any new contract of insurance and to refrain from any action that was adverse to the policyholders.
Anthony said in April 2011, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed Richard Surage of PKF Professional Services as judicial manager for the branch and during the past few months, the Eastern Caribbean governments and the court appointed judicial managers have considered several restructuring options and their financing implications.
“We continue to work assiduously with the objective of deriving a regional solution which is optimal for policyholders in all practical circumstances,” said Anthony. “Government recognizes the burden which policyholders have had to endure and the tolerance and patience exhibited thus far. Government therefore remains committed to arriving at a practical solution at the earliest. However, the reality of the situation is that the issues surrounding the collapse of CLICO cannot be fully resolved without our regional partners,” he said.
Last year, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that CLICO’s total exposure amounted to 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
Dr. Gonsalves said this would translate to approximately US$800-million in liabilities in CLICO Trinidad, CLICO Barbados and also British American Insurance Company (BAICO).
CLICO operations are being sold off or placed in government custody across its regional markets, a move taken by different countries to protect policyholders after the insurance group ran into liquidity troubles at the close of 2008.
CLICO and its parent, CL Financial, were rescued by the Trinidad government, which is now selling off businesses owned by the conglomerate.