The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance wishes to make the following statement, in light of misleading and misinformed comments currently being made on the matter of Clico Guyana.
As the regulator of the insurance sector, the Commissioner has a responsibility to regulate in the interest of the long term stability and strength of the insurance sector and, in particular, in the interest of policyholders and the public.
Having ascertained the extent of Clico Guyana’s exposure to overseas investments, the Commissioner immediately instructed the company to correct this deficiency.
The company undertook to do this in a manner that would be orderly, and that would avoid undue dislocation to its operations, which would in any case have been harmful to the interests of policyholders.
It would not have been appropriate for the Commissioner to opt for judicial proceedings at this stage because any attempt to obtain the intervention of the Courts would have required a demonstration that the company is unable meet its local liabilities, a condition that was not threatened until very recently.
Indeed, a move to the Court or any other public pronouncement on this matter at that stage could very well have precipitated the demise of the company to the immediate detriment of policyholders.
The Commissioner, therefore, continued to urge the company to repatriate a greater share of its investment portfolio, and commenced discussions on other options that might be available, including that of having the real estate holding in Florida owned by other members of the Clico Group assigned to the local company.
While these options were being explored, because of difficulties being experienced by Clico Bahamas, the Bahamian regulators moved to that country’s Courts and obtained an order for the winding up of that company on 24th February 2009.
On the very next day, 25th February 2009, given the investments held by Clico Guyana in Clico Bahamas, the Commissioner moved to the Guyana Courts and obtained an order to place Clico Guyana under judicial management. In other words, the move by the Bahamian regulator to wind up Clico Guyana was the critical external development that triggered the need for judicial protection of policyholders in Guyana, and the Commissioner sought and obtained this protection within one day.
It must be made very clear, therefore, that the Commissioner has been closely engaged with the company for an extended period in an effort to resolve any imminent difficulties, and this was done in a manner that placed the interests of policyholders and the public above all other considerations throughout the process.
The Commissioner wishes to reaffirm the assurance already given by His Excellency the President that all policies held in Clico Guyana will be protected. In this regard, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance will be communicating with policyholders within two weeks. The interests of staff of the company would likewise be safeguarded, and their cooperation and support will be essential in ensuring the successful resolution of the current situation.
The Commissioner urges all interested parties to allow the processes provided for under the Insurance Act and mandated by the Courts to be executed efficiently, and without the distraction and unhelpful consequences of reckless, uninformed, and irresponsible pronouncements on this matter.