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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Anthony Bowen, executive vice president -- sales, Sagicor Life Inc., Barbados.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Anthony Bowen, executive vice president — sales, Sagicor Life Inc., Barbados.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 19, IWN — As Easter draws near, over 15,000 former policyholders in British American Insurance Co. Ltd. (BAICO) are seeing the resurrection of their instruments.

On Friday, the transfer of BAICO’s traditional insurance business to Sagicor was finalised following the receipt of approval from all nine insurance regulators and courts within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and The Bahamas, where BAICO is incorporated.

“Those with traditional life insurance policies in Anguilla, St. Vincent, Grenada, Antigua, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Montserrat stand to greatly benefit from this transfer,” Anthony Bowen, executive vice president of sales at Sagicor Life Inc., Barbados, told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Tuesday.

Bowens said Sagicor has a long history of incorporating policyholders within the region into its portfolio.

He said that by April 2014 Sagicor expects to establish a new entity incorporated in one of the countries of that Eastern Caribbean that will bring the existing Sagicor Life business and that of British American under one legal entity.

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Meanwhile, Gonsalves read at the press conference a release issued by the governments of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Sagicor Life, Inc., and the judicial managers/administrator of BAICO.

The release says Sagicor will contact each affected policyholder whose policy has been transferred to confirm how to continue receiving their policy related benefits, pay premiums and make claims.

Sagicor has made interim arrangements with BAICO for BAICO branches in the ECCU to provide ongoing customer support to policyholders.

This means that BAICO will accept premiums and claims, and conduct other customer services on behalf of Sagicor.

Sagicor will also contact approximately 1,500 persons in the ECCU who are owed historical claim amounts, surrender payments, maturity payments, and bonuses by BAICO in order to make these payments.

The ECCU governments have provided funding for these amounts to be paid. Recipients will need to sign an appropriate release as a condition of receiving their payment.

The release said the ECCU governments and Sagicor will now focus on identifying whether a solution can be identified for those traditional life insurance policyholders whose policies lapsed between the commencement of BAICO’s judicial management and the announcement of the sale of the traditional life insurance business to Sagicor.

Once this work has concluded, an update will be provided, the release further said.

“I want to thank the financial secretaries and the cabinets of the various countries for securing approvals necessary to ensure that this arrangement could be implemented,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.

“I want to thank the governor and team at the Central Bank for processing various arrangements and supports. I want to thank the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for the funding. I want to thank KPMG and the judicial managers who have worked tirelessly on all aspects of the deal. I want to thank very much the general public for their patience and forbearance for believing in their governments that we could bring this to a successful conclusion,” he further said.

“This, frankly speaking, has been extraordinary. This is a tribute to our civilisation. This is an entirely homegrown solution done by Caribbean people for Caribbean people for the individual protection and for the systemic protection and maintenance of the strength of the insurance and financial system,” he said.

“So when some people doubt themselves, we ask you not to and this event should more generally reinforce faith and confidence of the general public, especially of young people in the capacity of our own people to do things, which are good and worthy.”

On June 29, 2012, the governments of ECCU and the Judicial Managers of BAICO announced that BAICO, which is judicial management, had entered into an agreement to sell part of its insurance business to Sagicor the ECCU governments have undertaken to provide funding to assist in restoring value to the transferring policies.