NASSAU, Bahamas, Weds. Feb. 25, 2009: Since December 2008 your Bahamas Press warned that a major insurance was having serious financial problems. The WUTLESS MEDIA SAID NOT A WORD. Now policyholders know what Bahamas Press has known and wrote for months. The Bahamian Supreme Court on Tuesday granted a request from the islands government to liquidate Clico Bahamas Ltd.
The country’s finance ministry said the move was necessary to protect shareholders of the company. Craig Gomez of Baker Tilley Gomez was appointed as the liquidator of the company.
“This action was precipitated at this time because of the continuing decline in the market value of the real estate investment in the United States via CLICO Bahamas Limited subsidiaries, CLICO Enterprises Limited and Wellington Preserve Limited, the uncertain financial position of its ultimate parent C L Financial Limited of Trinidad and Tobago, the inability of the company to pay claims/surrenders of policies in one of the jurisdictions where it operates and the lack of a credible plan by the company to address the shortfall in capital and liquidity in a reasonable time. It was felt that to delay taking action would only further erode the assets of the company to the detriment of policyholders,” a statement from the Office of the Registrar of Insurance Companies said.
CLICO Bahamas Limited (formerly British Fidelity Assurance Limited), a subsidiary of CLICO (Holdings) Barbados Limited and a subsidiary of the C L Financial group, operated in the Bahamas as a part of the C L Financial group since 1992. However, the company operated for many years prior to 1992 as British Fidelity Assurance Limited under different owners. The company has active operations in the Bahamas, Belize and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
In addition to these locations, the company has run-off business in the US Virgin Islands, Cayman and Barbados. The company has just over 29,000 policyholders, over 170 staff and over 100 million dollars in policy liabilities. The majority of the policyholders, policy liabilities and staff are in the Bahamas. The company’s advances to its real estate subsidiary CLICO Enterprises Limited, based on unaudited accounts, expanded from 57 million dollars at the end of 2007 to 72 million dollars at the end of 2008.