By Peter Permell
LAST Friday, Deloitte Consulting Ltd (Barbados), the judicial manager of CLICO International Life Insurance Limited (CIL ) issued a statement indicating it had received sanction from the High Court of Barbados to pursue a restructuring plan for the company.
“The proposed plan,” it said, “will result in a write-down in value of all policyholders’ liabilities (traditional policies and EFPAs) to match the estimated value of the company’s net available assets . . . .
“The judicial manager reported that it had examined and explored several funding options with regional governments, including most recently the possibility of issuing of a bond backed by sovereign guarantees from Barbados and Eastern Caribbean governments.
“However, after further consultations with regional governments and potential investors, this option was deemed not to be viable, given current market conditions . . . . In view of these considerations the judicial manager believes that the proposed restructuring plan is the best option available for policyholders at this time.
“The judicial manager will now be seeking the support of regional regulators and other court-appointed judicial managers to implement the proposed restructuring plan . . . .”
The Clico Policyholders Group (CPG) is very disappointed, but not surprised, by this unfortunate turn of events with regard to our counterparts in Barbados as this is clearly your classic case of “Peter pays for Paul and Paul pays for all”.
There are some interesting parallels with what has happened in Barbados and what could have happened in Trinidad and Tobago – which, on reflection, we were only able to avoid because of the CPG’s robust and unyielding representation.
The Trinidad policyholders must never forget that we would have suffered the same fate as Barbados, with perhaps, at best between 50 and 60 cents on the dollar, had we not been able to “stridently persuade” the Government to change/upgrade its original offer of $75 000 and zero-coupon bonds over 20 years to include the soon to be launched Clico Investment Fund (NEL 2).
It is clear that these Barbados policyholders are the innocent victims, the sacrificial lambs now being hauled, kicking and screaming, to the slaughter on the altar.
We encourage our Bajan brothers and sisters not to give up the struggle, and remind them of the old maxim “the race is not given to the swift nor the battle to the strong but he who endures to the end”.