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Jan 30, 2018

7 Years Later, Former CLICO Policyholders Take Case to C.C.J.

Andrew Marshalleck

In August of 2009, the local portfolio of the former Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) was handed over to RF&G Insurance, completing the demise of the company which had sustained extensive losses in the international financial crisis of that time period. According to Supervisor of Insurance Alma Gomez, Executive Flexible Premium Annuity (E.F.P.A) policies would not be included in the transfer of the portfolio. But as many as fifty-four of these policyholders argue that Gomez and her immediate boss, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow, failed in their regulatory duty to ensure that CLICO could cover the annuity policies by access to statutory reserves. They took their case to the Supreme Court, which disagreed. The Court of Appeal found partially in their favor and today the case was heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice. Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, attorney for the six headline claimants which include former P.U.P. area representatives Valdemar Castillo and Vildo Marin and Chamber of Commerce president Nikita Usher, summarized the details.


Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for CLICO Policyholders

“What the law requires is that insurance companies keep what is called statutory reserves that equal their liabilities in country and under the control of the supervisor, so that in the event of a failure, access can be had to those assets to make good the liabilities to policyholders; but as it turns out, with regard to the EFPA policies, that not a cent of statutory reserves was in place. And it wasn’t in place from the time the Act was first introduced requiring it in 2004 until 2009, when CLICO was finally put into judicial management and then liquidation. And what we are saying is that government should be held responsible for that failure, in continuing to license CLICO, to allow CLICO to unleash these policies on the Belizean public, without the regulatory requirements having been met year after year for so many years.”

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