Daily Archives: October 12, 2008

What Does “Blackout” Mean To The Barbados Insurance Industry?

Abused By Sagicor Life

Barbados Free Press Reader “Tell Me Why” Asks For Advice…

A lady took out three Insurance policies for her children that would mature when they reach 21, and one for her.  Two of the children’s policies were taken out in 1981 and the other in 1987.  The insurance company at the time was Manufacture Life who was taken over by Life of Barbados in 1993 or there about, the company eventually changed its name to Sagicor Life.   From inception of all policies, payments were transacted by direct debit as one lump sum payment inclusive of my wife.

Other important aspect of the children’s policy is when these policies matured when the children reached 21, the company instead of paying out the funds as per policy agreement took it on themselves to renew the policies without informing the lady who is responsible for the said policies.  This is a breach of the policy by the company.

The lady never ever received any notification of any short payment(s) from the Insurance Company but alas, three week ago, three letters arrived from Sagicor stating that the children’s insurance policies are canceled due to them being lapsed because the company did not received payments for July and August 2008.  The lady was overwelmed by these letters and immediately called the company who apologised stating that the letters were too strong.

Did computer errors wipe out customer data at Sagicor Life during the mergers?

The lady was surprised of the term ‘too strong’ since she knew the direct debit (lumped sum for all three policies) was taken out from her account monthly from the inception of the policies.  Surprisingly, the agent for her account refused to return her call up to this date.   Earlier this week, three more letters arrived stating this time monies were not received from May and June.  The lady was told a day later by someone who was checking the account, that a “BLACKOUT” took place. She asked the employee what is a ‘blackout’ and the employee refused to answer.

Anyhow, the lady got in touch with a senior manager earlier this week who then told her the problem originated way back in 1993 and between 2003 and 2004 and apologised for the letters and the two policies are two months in arrears and the other is one month in arrears. She asked him what is a blackout and he refused to answer.   He said that two of the policies were lapsed for two months and the other for one month.  The lady asked him how a direct debit with a lump sum for the four policies can have a disparity of two with one amount and the other with another amount.

He stops talking.

The manager then told her to bring in all receipts for transactions up to 2005.    This is totally impossible since the insurance company don’t issue receipts since it is a direct debit from the bank.  Would you believe that the lady went home today and find her policy stating that it lapsed for two months payment from 1993?

This lady is between a rock and a hard place although the bank states that her direct debits are up-to-date which the lady confirmed is correct.

These are the questions now being asked:

– What is a “blackout” in Insurance language?
– Was there a computer glitch that wiped out information from the insurance company database?
– Where are the monies that were paid by the bank as a direct debit?
– Who received those monies?
– Could the “blackout” problem occurred during the merger.
– Why were correspondence not sent to the lady if the policies had a problem?
– Why would a company treat a client who is paying for four policies?
– What is the redress for the lady?

BFP reader Tell Me Why


Filed under Consumer Issues