BIPA WANTS FINANCE MINISTER TO PROVIDE MEANINGFUL GUIDANCE ON CLICO/BAICO PREMIUM PAYMENTS CONUNDRUM
The Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance Inc. (BIPA) continues to be frustrated in its attempts to secure appropriate information to pass on to its members in order that they may make individual and educated decisions on the continued payment of their premiums on CLICO and BAICO policies.
In a recent press statement, the Judicial Manager of CLICO encouraged Policyholders to keep paying their premiums in order to maintain the necessary revenue stream coming into the troubled Insurance Company, warning that failure to do so could further jeopardize the company’s viability.
In isolation, such a statement might make sense. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the Judicial Manager in his Interim Report on CLICO of 27nd May 2011, has requested a forensic audit; has identified a lack of internal control and corporate governance as well as the apparent intermingling of assets; has highlighted the lack of documentation for over $350million worth of assets, and numerous other issues which are, at the very least, cause for grave concern. Added to this, two and a half years of assurances and re-assurances, but no facts to back up such pronouncements, that all is well and policyholders need not worry – something which is clearly not the case. Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that there is so much confusion about what policyholders should do in their best interests as opposed to the best interests of other parties.
Thousands of Barbadians even though frustrated, concerned and anxious, continue month after month to have salary deductions made, pay direct debits, either mail cheques or go into the CLICO/BAICO offices and pay their premiums, despite the fact that they have been given no idea if they are throwing good, hard earned money after bad, and if their policies will be worth the paper they are written on when the final outcome of this debacle is known.
BIPA’s primary aim is to help policyholders get their money and interest back in the most expeditious way possible. The Alliance is not interested in talk, only in action. If accurate and timely information is provided, and written guarantees are given that continuing to pay premiums will ensure that policyholders will get all their money back, the Alliance will be happy to pass on this advice in its written form to its members and others accordingly. In the meantime, BIPA does not advise anyone to stop paying their premiums until we are in possession of further information that might suggest we should advise otherwise.
The Minister of Finance on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 also encouraged policyholders to continue to pay their premiums and went further to say “no premiums, no company; no company= stress”
BIPA’s response to the Minister’s statement is, “no information; no communication; no response to policyholders’ concerns= STRESS”
BIPA is made up a wide cross section of mature, professional and sensible individuals who are still very much focused on their primary goal; to get their money back.