Has any serious discussion been given to the news that the office of the Supervisor of Insurance has had to manage a backlog of cases going back to the year 2000? Given the role of that office juxtaposed with the financial stability Barbadians love to boast about it is God’s mercy Barbados has not suffered any major insurance catastrophe -that is until now. We cannot ignore the fact the inefficiency of the office spans a time when both political parties held the reins of government. BU is aware the Office of Supervisor of Insurance has never been held in high regard by principals in the insurance industry, bear in mind this is the office charged under the Laws of Barbados to regulate the insurance industry in Barbados.
Against the foregoing it is not surprising the former Chairman of Clico Holdings Leroy Parris would not have felt pressure to comply with a mandate from the supervisor of insurance which ordered Clico Life Insurance to stop selling the controversial Executive Flexible Premium Annuities. The matter was the subject of a police investigation and the file has been handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutors (DPP) for his consideration whether to press charges in the matter. Barbadians and others will await the DPP’s decision with interest. On the face of it it seems an open and shut case, Clico life under the direction of Leroy Parris deliberately violated an order from the insurance regulator. He afterwards demonstrated unfathomable ignorance by admitting it publicly.
BU has been sympathetic to how the government attempted to manage Clico at the start of the crisis. Many turned it into a political matter and the visible relationship between late Prime Minister David Thompson and Leroy Parry did not make the issue any easier to manage. A couple years later the final piece of the puzzle remains to be fixed, the disposal of Clico life insurance as a going concern.
The news that judicial manager Deloitte has finally been appointed is welcomed news for the policyholders who finally organized themselves after a couple years of being trapped in the glare of the headlights. Understanding the process which must now be gone through means that it will take years to finally settled this matter. The pending law suit of 10 million dollars filed by former Chairman Leroy Parris will not help to move the matter quickly along.
There is consensus the government took too long to appoint the judicial manager. It seems to BU after promising that a judicial manage would be appointed in May 2011 the government’s hand was forced when St. Lucia appointed Richard Surage of PKF Professional Services Inc judicial manager effective 11 April 2011. The action by the St. Lucia government was an interesting move given the position that the Clico home office is located in Barbados where the ‘assets’ reside with mainly liabilities in the satellite offices of the Eastern Caribbean. The appointment by the St. Lucia government would have embarrassed the Barbados government and consequently spurred it into action.
Many have asked why it took so long for a judicial manager to be appointed. Was it deliberate on the government’s part? Was it the usual bureaucratic requirements which Barbados has become known for? Was it ultra-caution demonstrated given the gravamen of the situation? Perhaps it had to do with Clico being a privately owned company? Whatever the reason it has taken too long to get where we are today.
BU wishes the two Deloitte partners Oliver Jordan and Patrick Toppin well.