Mar 13, 2009 News
…company to honour outstanding cheques – van Beek
By Tusika Martin
Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) will start honouring some of the claims by policyholders within another week as investigations continue into the operations of the company.
Yesterday, while reassuring policyholders that their monies will be returned, Commissioner of Insurance and Judicial Manager for CLICO (Guyana), Maria Van Beek, said that there are some 1,197 cheques worth in excess of $575M already paid by Clico (Guyana) but held by the recipients and currently being reviewed.
There is a further $2 million in stale-dated cheques that are also being reviewed, Ms van Beek said.
And by next week claimants of health, motor, fire and other general insurance cheques that were un-presented as at February 25 last will receive their claims. Not long after, the company being managed by Ms van Beek will review claims made after February 25 last. That was the date when the court ordered the Commissioner of Insurance to take control of Clico (Guyana).
Van Beek told the media that claims related to life and pension contracts will not be paid at this time, as the assets backing these claims are still being assessed and may be subject to litigation.
Since her takeover, Nizam Ali and Company have been contracted to assist her, and Prescience Insurance Consultants and Actuaries based in Toronto, Canada have also been contracted to provide an assessment of the company’s long-term insurance liabilities.
Van Beek told the media that the audited financial statements as at December 31, 2008 are now being finalised.
In addition, she said, attorneys in Guyana and a legal team in the Bahamas have been retained to provide legal services to the company.
“Our information thus far indicates that the company has 14,990 insurance policies, 90 members of staff and about 65 sales agents. Investigations into the financial status of the company are ongoing, and are expected to take another four weeks.”
She explained that she has already filed a preliminary report with the court, and is expected to return to court for further direction on Monday.
“Claims for health contracts, fire contracts, motor contracts and other general insurance contracts will recommence and be paid, once the claim has been verified and payment has been approved as in the normal course of business.”
She added that payment of these claims would quickly erode the liquidity of the company and affect its viability.
It took most of the past two weeks, Van Beek said, to verify each of the 1,197 un-presented cheques and the 154 stale-dated cheques with the company, and to complete an initial liquidity analysis.
“For those policyholders whose claims we cannot process at this time and other creditors, we ask for their patience until the final report to the Court is completed.”
It is anticipated that this will be done within another month.
She noted that no one has been laid off from Clico (Guyana) because she needs the staff, even as the future of CLICO is not determined as yet.
Ms van Beek explained yesterday that no new business has been written by the company since February 25 last.
“I wish to encourage policyholders that have regular premiums in force to continue to pay their premiums.”
If they fail to do so, she said, there may be severe consequences for their entitlements. In short, the policies would lapse and claims would therefore be denied.
Citing an example, the Commissioner of Insurance said that, if a person has a health policy in force with monthly premiums, failure to pay the premium when it falls due will result in the termination of the contract.
Any claims made after 30 days of the expiry of the contract will not be honoured, she explained.
Upon the expiry date of renewable contracts, such as motor policies, these will not be automatically renewed, Van Beek said.
Such policies, she pointed out, will no longer be covered by their Clico insurance, and they should seek alternative insurance arrangements.
“It is important to note that most general and health are one-year policies and, since renewal is normally automatic, any CLICO policyholder should check their policy document or renewal notice and determine when their cover expires.”
Letters, Van Beek said, were sent to local group subsidiaries Caribbean Resources Ltd. (CRL) and Premium Security Services Inc. (PSSI) requiring repayment of loans.
On Friday last, the Commissioner said that she filed for, and subsequently obtained, injunctions from the Court restraining these two local companies from making any payments to CL Financial until the matter is heard at court on March 27.
“In addition, I have written to CL Financial requesting that it honour its guarantee with respect to the loan to CRL.”
The wind-up of CLICO (Bahamas) is to be heard next week, when it is expected that the appointment of the Liquidator will be confirmed.
“Our legal team will be making representations on our behalf. They have already communicated to the Provisional Liquidator in an effort to share information regarding our investments in the Bahamas.”
However, the Provisional Liquidator, she added, has not yet confirmed this investment, and may not be in a position to do so until the Court has confirmed his appointment.
“This, notwithstanding our claim, will be filed with the Court.”
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