Controllers look to sell Motor and General’s business

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Chief
Justice Anthony Smellie approved a petition Monday morning that broadens the
powers of the controllers appointed by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority
with respect to Motor & General Insurance Company Ltd, paving the way for a
potential sale of the insurer’s business portfolio here.

On
15 June, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, the insurance regulator in
that country, issued an order directing Motor & General to suspend operations
for 60 days. The order was also applicable in the Cayman Islands because Motor
and General is not incorporated here, but instead operates as a branch office
of the parent Trinidad and Tobago company. 
The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago made the order because the company’s
statutory returns of 2007 and 2008 were filed late and incorrectly.

Walkers
attorney Matthew Goucke, representing the local controllers, David Walker and
Ian Stokoe of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, outlined the argument for the petition
for Mr. Smellie in court. He noted that the suspension order, as it was,
created a problem for the Cayman branch to pay insurance claims, even though it
was in a financial position to do so.  He
also pointed out that there was about CI$4 million in a statutory trust
required by the Insurance Law, which would be sufficient to meet the known and
anticipated claims of policyholders.

“It
does appear the Cayman Islands insurance business is a sound one and generating
a profit,” he said.

Mr.
Goucke said selling the company’s local business represented “the best
opportunity for realising benefit for the stakeholders”.

“I
think people in both jurisdictions recognise that the Cayman business is a
solid one.”

The
Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, through its agents, had no objection to
the petition to broaden the local controllers’ powers.  The controller appointed by the Trinidad and
Tobago regulator, Brian Hackett of PwC in that country, provided a letter
stating there were no objections to the petition.  In addition, Mr. Goucke said that Motor and
General in Trinidad & Tobago was likely to support a sale of the company’s
portfolio of business in the Cayman Islands “because the benefits would flow up
to the head office”.

Mr.
Goucke said Mr. Hackett had also said the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago
was not averse to allowing the controllers to continue operating Motor and
General’s business on a limited basis, including honouring legitimate claims of
policyholders.

Although
the powers sought in the petition effectively mirror those afforded receivers
under section 18 of the Bankruptcy Law, Mr. Goucke said they would only be
exercised on a limited basis. He also said that all parties were hopeful that a
formal winding-up process would not be necessary with respect to Motor and
General’s Cayman business.

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Motor and General Cayman branch.
Photo: Stuart Wilson