Clico Privy Council judgment – June 28… Hot on the heels of the Colman report

Spread the word

One day after the delivery of the report into the collapse of Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) comes word that the legal challenge by policyholders would be settled in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on June 28.

The Registrar of the Privy Council has sent out notices that judgment will be delivered at 10.30 am (5.30 TT time).

The issue before the Law Lords was whether the government of Trinidad and Tobago, having taken control of Clico, acted unlawfully in failing to guarantee the insurance policies of certain policyholders.

FACTS

The appellants all hold versions of a policy called the Executive Flexible Premium Annuity (EFPA) in the Colonial Life Insurance Company (“CLICO”). CLICO is a subsidiary of a holding company called CL Financial and is regulated by the Insurance Act Chapter 84:01 (“the Act”), which requires insurance companies to establish a statutory fund to cover their liabilities to policyholders in certain circumstances.

Following concerns regarding liquidity problems in another subsidiary of CL Financial, and the risk of a run on CL Financial, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago took control of CLICO on February 13, 2009, pursuant to its powers under the Central Bank Act.

A series of public statements were subsequently made by the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance to the effect that policyholders should feel confident that their funds were protected.

The government proposed a plan of action whereby EFPA policyholders would only be guaranteed up to the value of their principal balances, while other policies would be fully guaranteed under CLICO’s statutory fund.

The appellants sought judicial review of the government’s plan. Madame Justice Joan Charles found that the appellants had a legitimate expectation that their policies would be protected on the basis of the statements made by the government.

The Court of Appeal subsequently allowed the respondent’s appeal on June 23, 2014. The appellants were granted leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on November 3, 2014.

Appellants

1. The United Policyholders Group
2. Madan Singh
3. Basdeo Rajkumar
4. Sandra Rajkumar
5. Stacey Noelle Williams

Respondent

The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago

PRIVY COUNCIL PANEL

Lord Neuberger, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath

Hearing start date
18 Jan 2016

Hearing finish date
20 Jan 2016

Judgment hands down date
28 Jun 2016

Following the collapse of CLICO, the PP Government established a Commission of Enquiry in 2010. After 85 sessions, 25 witnesses, $80 million in legal fees, and a total bill of $100 million, the final report was handed over to President Anthony Carmona on Wednesday at President’s House.

CLICO Head Office

CLICO Head Office

 

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