Clico (Trinidad) orders no new business

(Trinidad Guardian) No new business. About 700 insurance agents employed by the Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd (Clico) have been told not to sell any new policies until a new business model has been determined and rates have been revised.

The Central Bank announced on January 30 that it was taking over Clico, a subsidiary of the CL Financial Group, following liquidity problems at Clico, Clico Investment Bank and British American Insurance Company Ltd. An agent on Monday confirmed that the managers of about 70 agencies spread throughout T&T are expected to meet with their agents  to discuss a new business model and new rates it can offer to clients for Clico’s products.

Agency managers last week met with the new Clico board, which was put in place by the Central Bank. “We are not allowed to see new clients. We can only service old clients. We can’t write new business or do any overseas stuff,” said the agent, who works with a Port-of-Spain agency. She said that Clico has discontinued marketing its annuities in foreign currencies—the US dollar, the euro, the Canadian dollar and the United Kingdom pound sterling—which was being sold to Trinidadians living abroad.

“They will only allow us to go forward with local currency products,” the agent said. “We can’t sell until we verify the (new) rates.” A February 10 e-mail advised agents to “hold on selling EFPA now, as interest rates will be revised,” and that CL Financial subsidiaries British American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd and Clico will sell identical products.

Among the e-mails sent to the agents was information to allow them to reassure clients who may be jittery about doing business with other Clico insurance subsidiaries. One such e-mail, dated February 3 from Willard P Harris, managing director/chief executive officer, administration team, Colfire, stated: “We wish to advise that Colfire has an independent board of directors with a separate balance sheet and we can confirm that we have met and exceeded our statutory requirements with the Central Bank of T&T (CBTT).

“All reinsurance arrangements have been placed and are secure with reinsurers, all rated Standard & Poor’s ‘A’ and above. We continue to have the support of our reinsurers in light of the circumstances.

“Your company is strong and unaffected. No member of staff will lose their job as a result of the announced restructuring by the CBTT of our fellow subsidiaries.”

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