BIPA Hopeful of Offer

DAILY NATION. THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2014

BIPA Hopeful of Offer

by RICKY JORDAN 

CLICO POLICYHOLDERS are cautiously optimistic about an offer by Canadian management agency, Canada Loyal Financial, to buy all of the assets of CLICO International Life (CIL) Insurance Limited and totally repay the principal sums to policyholders and investors in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Chairman of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA), June Fowler, said while the offer had excited many policyholders, based on the number of calls she had received in the last few days, she wanted them to bear in mind that the due diligence on this company would take time.

“The court and the Government would still have to rubberstamp the setting up of a new company and the judicial manager would still have to consider all the offers on the table before accepting, hopefully, the one that is most beneficial to the policyholders. How long will this process take? We do not know,” she told the DAILY NATION.

Fowler added that while this offer might seem to be finally providing a satisfactory solution to the CLICO debacle stretching back to the collapse of Trinidadian parent company CL Financial in 2009, there was “an inertia and a lethargy and a lack of critical cooperation that have dogged the path to resolution over the past five years”.

She therefore said she hoped such delays would not result in the deal falling apart and causing suffering policyholders to lose out.

“If this deal is better than all the others, we hope that it would not turn out to be another Four Seasons, where you have to go back to the drawing board and start afresh, where people get frustrated with all that has taken place to delay the process,” said the BIPA head.

Noting she was hopeful the company would receive the necessary cooperation of all the parties involved, namely the CLICO judicial manager Deloitte Consulting Inc. and the Government, she said: “BIPA is willing to cooperate with any plan that will maximise the policyholders’ recompense.”

However, she added, BIPA would continue to pursue its court case “against the directors and auditors of CLICO, and others, to make up any shortfall in the return of the value of its members’ policies”.

Stating that she hoped to see “some level of movement taking place” in the next few weeks, the BIPA head said while much business happened behind the scenes, policyholders would be keenly watching the Canadian offer.

Letters from Canada Loyal Financial, bearing the company’s letterhead and signed by the CEO, were sent to Deloitte and the Minister of Finance late last week, expressing the firm’s commitment to ensuring that policyholders in Barbados and the region were “made whole for their principal”.

It added: “We wish to proceed with our due diligence and are in the process of preparing a financial package that will be presented with our formal proposal. Our offer will meet and exceed Government objectives and ensure that the commitment is satisfied and that the company can move forward as an ongoing business. I look forward to meeting with you and our delegation to present our proposal at your earliest convenience.”

The company’s partners include Canada Life, Forresters Life, Industrial Alliance, RBC Insurance and UL Mutual, and its offer to purchase CIL’s $800 million in assets is reportedly backed by two other entities.