Carlos Belgrave, Former Chicken Feed Manager, Sets The Standard For Barbados Insurance Industry
The recent collapse of the CLICO insurance company exposed the fact that successive Barbados governments have allowed insurance companies and offshore corporations to pretty much do as they please so long as those political campaign donations, kickbacks and business jet rides keep rolling in.
But now that the world’s attention has come to focus upon our failings, Barbados decided to make some noises so investors and other governments will believe we’ve taken effective measures to supervise our offshore insurance industry. The key here is that we haven’t taken any new steps… we just make noises and promises so others will be taken in and believe that things have changed in Barbados.
The sham press conference by Barbados Supervisor of Insurance was all about repairing investor confidence after the CLICO debacle – not about real change to protect investors & policy holders
To kick things off, our Supervisor of Insurance held a press conference (Nation News article) announcing that the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) members have agreed to some voluntary standards that may be enforced by a $2,500 fine. It is hoped that maybe, sometime in the future, these voluntary standards might possibly become law in Barbados. Maybe. If. Sometime.
Judging by the accounts in the local news rags, the revelations at the press conference were shocking – but true to form the Barbados media spun an outrageous admission of incompetence, guilt and amateurism into a positive story. In truth, the Barbados Supervisor of Insurance admitted that Barbados lacks effective standards in law respecting the financial health, financial management and financial strength of insurance companies. (Barbados Advocate coverage of press conference here)
CLICO investors and policy holders probably thought we had such standards as laws – but they thought wrong.
But hey, we’re going to put those laws in place. Someday, maybe, if… but for now the Barbados insurance companies promise to volunteer to maintain those standards or risk having to pay (again voluntarily) a whopping BDS$2,500 (US$1,250) fine. Wow! That should prevent another CLICO-type collapse, don’t you think?
Our lack of rules, laws or effective oversight is what allowed a healthy insurance company like CLICO Barbados to “invest” in huge loans to parent company CL Financial and other Clico companies – loans that were secured by way-overvalued swampland in Florida. Loans secured by deals where executives of CLICO-associated companies took secret commissions and kickbacks for engineering the over-payment for swampland!
See our articles about the CLICO fraud…
Meanwhile, the Directors of CL Financial were purchasing millions of dollars of prime, upscale Florida waterfront mansions for their own enjoyment and profit.
That is the legacy of two successive Barbados governments and our Supervisor of Insurance, Carlos Belgrave.
Now Belgrave says he wants to make a law requiring minimum capital standards for insurance companies. Hopefully Belgrave no longer accepts “bearer peat certificates” as security for capital! Such standards saw Belgrave named in 2006 as the “worst regulator” by Offshore Alert.
The CLICO Chicken Came Home To Roost
In the case of CLICO, the Barbados insurance company was allowed to operate for years without sufficient cash reserves – and no one thought it dangerous when a otherwise healthy CLICO loaned all kinds of money to its parent company to purchase swampland in Florida at a price that greatly exceeded the real value of the land!
Not to be outdone by the previous BLP Government for looking after friends and concealing the truth from the public, current Prime Minister David Thompson has pledged millions of your tax dollars to assist collapsed CLICO. Oh… did you know that the Prime Minister and CLICO CEO Leroy Parris are godfathers to each other’s child? Did you know that CLICO contributed to the DLP election campaign and that David Thompson borrowed CLICO’s business jet?
All a coincidence I’m sure as the Prime Minister works diligently to socialize Clico’s losses with our tax dollars.
You know the drill for the Prime Minister’s friends: Profits are private, but losses are paid for with your public tax dollars!
Barbados Supervisor Of Insurance Carlos Belgrave Approved US$ Half A Billion Insurance Assets That Were “Bearer Peat Certificates” !
Instead of pulling Reliant’s license and despite there being no change of control or management, Belgrave allowed Reliant to continue in business by approving replacement capital with a face value of $518 million that consisted of nothing more substantial than a loan note issued by a newly-formed Panama firm that was secured by “bearer peat certificates representing the right to obtain peat, a pre-coal state organic material used as energy or for horticultural use, from the Changuinola Peat Deposit of Northwestern Panama”…
… quoted from Offshore Alert in the BFP Article: Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions in Barbados, Called “Worst Regulator” By OffshoreAlert