– Pension records prior to 2004 not available
Agents at Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Guyana are peeved over the fact that cheques issued to them on April 16 last are not being honoured by the Bank when cheques that were issued on the previous date have been honoured.
The agents believe that the reason behind their woes is the fact that CLICO (Guyana) Judicial Manager Maria van Beek was shot that morning and may not have authorized the release of the money, but they argued that there is a Deputy Commissioner of Insurance who should have immediately acted in that capacity and provided authorization.
“I got children and bills to pay and I am not getting my money,” lamented one agent.
Another bone of contention between the agents and CLICO (Guyana) is that their pension records prior to 2004 are not available and the company seems unable to present them.
One agent showed this newspaper the records presented to him – only dated back to 2004 – with a figure at that time represented pension owed and which progressed over the years.
The agent while not questioning the authenticity of the figure would like to see the records that generated that amount.
“Can you believe that a big insurance company like this doesn’t have records in their system?”
It was explained that prior to 2004 the records were kept in a system called ‘AS400’ but from 2004 all record keeping transactions were conducted in Trinidad at CL Financial.
“What they’re telling us is to get our pay slips and they will use that to tabulate how they arrived at the figure,” the agent stated.
Another issue that is a source of agony for the agents is the ‘claw back’ clause wherein when a policyholder surrenders his or her policy the premium that would have been payable the following month will be deducted from the agent’s commission.
This according to the agents was unfair to them, “you screw up the company and that is why the people surrendering their policy…it is not us that told them to surrender their policy…the people are just scared that at a later date they will not get what is due to them.”
They have been lying to us all of the time
The agents have also not yet gotten over the manner in which CLICO (Guyana) officials divulged information to them.
One of the senior agents recalled that when the Government of Trinidad and Tobago took over CL Financial, the then Chief Executive Officer of CLICO (Guyana) Geeta Singh-Knight held a meeting with them and relayed the state of affairs as it relates to the local entity.
“She said to us not to worry about what happened in Trinidad.”
The agent reported that Singh-Knight related to them that the company was sound and they had $12.1B in statutory funds, and further, the company was not intertwined with CL Financial.
Statements were also prepared by the company to issue to clients.
“We never knew that funds were being sent from since 2004 to CLICO (Bahamas)….She (CEO) was from the inception lying and lying and hiding information from us.”
It was pointed out that the agents worked hard in the field to acquire the money only to have it shipped to the Bahamans.
The agents also lamented the fact that financial statements issued continuously over the years did not reflect the monies sent to the Bahamas.
The agents also added their voice to the numerous calls for a forensic audit into the books of CLICO (Guyana).As it relates to the purchase of a new building in Guyana, the agents said that the Commissioner related to them that were the company to recover the money ($1.3B) incurred soon, it would breathe life into the company once again.
As such the government was criticized for not taking the same route as that of Trinidad, in that the Government instead of taking over the company is more interested in winding up.
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