Steadman

A group of Dominicans who invested in failed insurance company CLICO and British American Insurance Company – BAICO – says it is  making preparations to take the two companies to court in a bid to recoup their investments.

The Waitikubuli Investors and Policy Holders Alliance Limited says it represents close to 70 locals out of an estimated 400 who invested in the two companies.

According to the group’s chairman, Grayson Steadman, the sums involved total well over $126 million,  funds that Dominicans invested in good faith in CLICO and BAICO.

“Some people have their life savings in this thing,” he said, warning that if the monies were not recovered that would have a serious impact on some of those affected.

In the case of CLICO there is a judicial review underway, and policy holders here worried about their investments in the failed insurance company, were last month updated on the progress being made by court appointed Judicial Manager Oliver Jordan of Deloitte Consulting Ltd.

Jordan said at the time that a CLICO restructuring plan was being worked on, and the intention was to conclude by June/July of this year, the process involving CLICO branches in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean which kicked off in April of last year.

Steadman told Dominica News Online on Wednesday that the Waitikubuli Investors and Policy Holders Alliance was taking both CLICO and BAICO to court and that it wasn’t alone in that action because the Grenada government was taking CLICO to court, while in Barbados the regulatory board, a government agency, was also taking both companies to court.

“Unless you take some legal action the parties will not move,” Steadman, who worked in the management and financial business for many years, said.

His group is seeking a meeting on the CLICO/BAICO matter with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and has also scheduled a meeting for Friday (30th March) to discuss with its members the way forward.

They want matters like the insurance companies having engaged in banking-type practices, and the management of the insurance companies addressed in court.

“I think the matter is so serious, that people must be made to understand that if they are responsible and they violate that trust, they must be taken to court and pay for that.  You have to have responsible people,” the former banana industry financial comptroller told DNO.

He indicated that apart from people who made direct investments, additional Dominican funds went into CLICO and BAICO coffers.

“The National Bank of Dominica has invested between CLICO and BAICO $29 million, this is depositors money.  In the case of the Dominica Social Security, Social Security has invested $9 million, which is pensioners’ money,” he indicated, adding that the Credit Union League had also invested heavily in the insurance companies.

Dominica along with the other OECS countries and others in the region have been dealing with the fallout from CLICO’s parent company CL Financial, which was the largest privately held conglomerate in Trinidad and Tobago and one of the largest privately held corporations in the Caribbean.

It had become an investment holding company that supported a range of enterprises operating within such sectors as insurance, banking and financial services, real estate, manufacturing, energy and petrochemicals and health services.

CL Financial held investments in more than 65 companies in 32 countries worldwide with assets totalling about TT$100 billion.