Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents SBG4 | NEWS
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 15 • 2014
Last week the Sunday Business
Guardian explored reasons to get
life insurance. This week, the
other side of the issue is being
examined as Sunday BG speaks
to those who have avoided getting
Trevor* has one of the
Trinidad s most recognis-
able voices. In January
2009, he was in his sixties
and on the verge of col-
lecting on his pension
plan, something he had
been pouring money into
for almost 40 years. As far as he was concerned,
he was set; the company was solid, it was
profitable and it was about to pay out. He was
going to travel, as he had been dreaming of
doing for decades. He was also going to help
take care of his older brother, who has a debil-
itating motor-immune disease. The insurance
company that controlled his pension savings:
In an address at a breakfast seminar hosted
by the Chartered Financial Accountants in
2012---more than three years after the
announcement of the collapse---Central Bank
governor, Jwala Rambarran said of the con-
glomerate: "Apart from balance sheet scars,
the Clico crisis may have left psychological
scars on the population of T&T. For many,
memories of this failure are still fresh, causing
an overestimation of the probability of a repeat
disaster---the fear of fear itself."
Five years after Clico collapsed, the failed
insurance giant continues to impact on the
public consciousness. In May, there was word
that its 105 agents are going to be sent home
come June 30, again arousing concerns among
its remaining policyholders about the security
of their investments.
Speaking with the Sunday Business Guardian,
Trevor said, he has "moved on." He has been
able to recoup some of his losses. He is getting
good paying work, steadily. It covers the bills.
Other relatives have stepped in to help with
his brother. It is not, ideally, how he would
have hoped to spend his twilight years, but he
has learned to accept it.
Believe in entrepreneurship
A generation away, 40-something year-old
*Eric looks on.
He doesn t have life insurance with Clico,
or any other company, and given everything
that has happened, he considers himself lucky
"that a friend who sold insurance with Clico"
was not able to get him to purchase.
In the 1970s, when he was eight, he recol-
lected that his father took out policies on his,
Eric s and his mother s life. Eric related that
the company failed in the early 80s.
"We took about 10 years before we got any
kind of settlement and it was pittance, less
than $1,000 each. That money was just dead
But he was not dissuaded then. When he
started working, he took out life insurance; a
policy he said he had for a year and a half
before bad times hit.
"I missed two payments. Before I got the
mail, I went in and tried to pay and was
informed that my policy had lapsed. I never
got a letter. I got a letter the following week
but it was backdated. I don t believe insurance
companies make sense for most people."
Eric sees himself as a creative type and is
a firm believer in entrepreneurship. He said
most people between 35 and 50 have been told
to go out, become educated and get "good"
jobs. Insurance is part of this package. However,
Eric---who owns a production company---has
rejected the idea that he needs life insurance,
a medical plan or pension provision, not even
checking to see if he has coverage under the
National Insurance system. His laundry list of
problems with the industry is long.
He has car insurance and has had unpleasant
experiences in getting his claims settled after
accidents, receiving less than what he thought
he deserved in payment and this, after "horse
trading" with the company. He reasoned, if
this was happening while he was alive, things
could only get worse after his death. Eric has
two teenaged sons, but is not sold on the legacy
aspect of life insurance. He said it was much
better to teach his children entrepreneurship.
"Teach your kids how to make money and
make sure when they have enough and they
have a great idea. They can invest in that idea
and then they can turn something around."
Eric is a homeowner. He inherited his house
from his parents. He thought real estate was
Life without insurance
Why some individuals spurn the promise to pay
Continued on Page 5
In an economic environment
where the companies are
not regulated or monitored,
when you have no police
checking at the stop light,
the companies can do
whatever they want.
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