BAICO policyholders joining lawsuit against T&T government

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Antiguan and Barbudan annuity and policy holders of the failed British-American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO) are joining a group action against the government of Trinidad and Tobago over what it says is discrimination in the payouts to investors of the now insolvent company.
The Annuity Holders (BAICO) (Antigua) Advocacy Group Inc. was formed to piggyback on the action to be filed in the Caribbean Court of Justice under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas by a similar advocacy group in Grenada.
BAICO is a subsidiary of the Trinidadian firm CL Financial. But when the company failed, the Trinidad and Tobago government took control of it. The advocacy groups issue centres on the fact that policyholders in Trinidad and other countries in the region, outside of the OECS, were paid significantly more on their investments.
Only phases of partial payments have been made to-date to Antiguan policyholders, the local group said.
Kevin Branker, a board member with the local non-profit entity, said they were going after the government because of that discrepancy in the payouts.
“Now what we’re doing [with] the lawsuit, because we’re teaming, not just with Grenada, we’re actually teaming with other OECS islands, to try and get an equal settlement just like what
has happened in Trinidad where they’ve been paid 85 cents on the dollar and we’ve just been paid 10,” Branker said on Observer AM on Tuesday
He added that the intention had been to have the action filed during the first quarter, but this was more likely to be done some time in April.
BAICO was placed in judicial management in 2009 and a plan was subsequently devised for the distribution of its assets to policyholders across the region. Branker said that was a separate process.
“What they are doing is selling off assets and portions of that will eventually come to us, whereas the lawsuit is specific to the government in Trinidad and the assets in Trinidad.”
Antiguan and Barbudan investors reportedly lost more than $300 million in annuities and other policies with the company.
The local group has opened an office in the Medical Benefits administrative building on Nevis Street, where policyholders and annuitants willing to join the action could receive more information and register.
Branker said they currently have approximately 150 people registered and were targeting approximately 300 to 400 in all.

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