Failed insurance company CLICO…
Following a move to the court by the then Commissioner of Insurance Maria van Beek to liquidate the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) Guyana, the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geeta Singh-Knight was retained for her institutional memory and continues to receive in excess of $1.5M per month.
This despite the fact that the company’s liabilities outweighed its assets significantly, with more than 50 per cent impaired due to botched investments overseas.
The salary paid to Singh-Knight could be verified by this newspaper as of November 2009 but she is also still retained by the company.
Only recently, Singh-Knight resurfaced in the media when President Bharrat Jagdeo was elucidating on the reasons behind the failure of the insurance giant and was then forced to defend the person that presided over all of the bad investment decisions made by the company with her at the helm.
After listing the fact that several bad investments were made by CLICO Guyana, Jagdeo was asked whether he thought it was a good idea to have her sit on the GuySuCo Board and he said that she has, “significant skills, frankly speaking.”
The Head of State’s remarks on bad investments caused the opposition to lash out, with the Alliance For Change leader Raphael Trotman saying that the position adopted by the president wreaks of “high class lawlessness to defend a bad decision when thousands (CLICO policy holders) lost everything
Trotman said that while Singh-Knight may have her qualities, in any other country in the world she would have felt compelled to take a self-imposed sabbatical from the corporate world.
“Look at how GuySuCo is collapsing nationally….First it was CLICO (Guyana), now sugar is in crisis after spending almost US$300M on the Skeldon Sugar factory and neglecting the workers.”
Singh-Knight is currently also on an interim management board of GuySuCo to assist in drafting a ‘turnaround plan’ for the industry.
It was later found that while she was at the helm of CLICO Guyana, the company breached the Insurance Act by investing more than it should have overseas and the company was well below its liquidity rate.
Following the move to the court in Bahamas to wind up the CLICO company, and realising that CLICO Guyana has in excess of $6B locked in there, the then local Commissioner of Insurance, Maria van Beek, moved to the High Court to wind up the company.
Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang granted Judicial Management to the Commissioner of Insurance and asked for an in depth report on the affairs of the company.
That report has been completed and, according to van Beek, in a worst case scenario, the company was some US$60M above its liability, but subsequent court proceedings have since stalled the winding up process so that policy holders can be paid.
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