BVI News

Skelton-Cline leading lawsuit against ‘criminal’ insurers

Claude Skelton-Cline

Talkshow host and former head of the BVI Ports Authority, Claude Skelton-Cline has announced plans to file a class-action lawsuit against insurance companies in the British Virgin Islands.

Effectively, a class-action suit happens when a group of persons who are wronged by the same entity collectively take legal action against that accused wrongdoer.

Skelton-Cline broadcasted yesterday on his ‘Honestly Speaking’ radio programme that he will be leading that charge and is inviting aggrieved residents to join the group.

Since the hurricanes, local insurers have been accused of cheating residents out of fair insurance payouts.

Skelton-Cline described them as criminals and said one particular insurance company was worse than the rest.

He did not publicly name that insurance company.

“As early as tomorrow morning I have a meeting with a lawyer friend because we are going to pursue a class-action suit against these companies. We think that how they have behaved in so many ways is absolutely just criminal… It is unbelievable what is taking place,” he said.

Government dissatisfactory 

The Premier Dr D Orlando Smith government recently implemented an insurance tribunal to investigate reports of unfairness from insurers and to further help settle disputes between residents and insurance companies.

However, Skelton-Cline is not satisfied and believes government has done nothing that is “really meaningful”.

He went on to call on support from all insured residents, regardless of whether they have received insurance payouts for their properties already.

“The truth of the matter is, whether they took care of you or not, premiums have already gone up for all of us… People are not being taken care of. They are not receiving enough money to repair or rebuild their homes,” he lamented.

“We are going to call a meeting, we are going to assess how many people from what insurance companies are not being taken care of, and we will pursue this vigorously,” Skelton-Cline added.

Court action taken before

Skelton-Cline is no stranger to taking legal action and has filed at least one lawsuit before.

He filed a suit against the governing National Democratic Party for not renewing his employment contract as Ports Authority boss when it ended back in 2016.

He claimed he had ‘reasonable expectation’ that his contract would have been renewed.

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  1. BVI lawyer says:

    Interesting. Although we don’t actually have class action lawsuits in the BVI.

    • Retired says:

      Hopefully Mr. Skelton-Cline’s lawyer will advise his client of this detail in the BVI legal system.

    • hers says:

      look who talking, hmmmmm.

    • all of us says:

      i like how they talking bout these insurance companies what happen to this land lords or a criminal and getting away with murder in my opinion… how can a tenant who losing everything lost thousand dollar worth of things..things that cant be replaced landlord not even given no help either they want you out there place or they want there rent.. how landlords not responsible for Gross negligence didn’t even try to prevent harm didn’t even board up one window yes you can say with irma it wouldn’t matter but that’s not thru is just you’re trump card excuse.. so mr clyne where is the class action suit for landlords???? and a next thing do landlord operate under a business licence ??? cause if they are not they are breaking the laws and there insurance polices need to be changed..

  2. Big ups says:

    Yes we support

  3. Whatever says:

    .. This is all political nonsense …

  4. Stewww says:

    How come the hurricane didnt put a muzzle on this man?

  5. BVI TO THE BONE says:

    Some people really think the people of these precious virgin Islands are fools. American Greed;
    Virgin Islands Greedier!!

  6. Reader says:

    @ Stewww. Not because Mr. Skelton Clyne is perfect (none of us are), but if you read the news in the USVI, they have done the same thing, to look out for the rights of its citizens who may have been dealt bad deals by the insurance companies.

    • TurtleDove says:

      @ Reader

      I agree with you we have a tendency to shoot the messenger in the BVI….

    • @Reader says:

      Mister Skelton has a valid point. I am minded to side with him this time. I’ve been settled but I have many many issues with the process post Irma and how claims are handled.

    • watcher says:

      Under US law you have so called class action law suits. Under British law you do not. Perhaps the threat of withdrawal of licenses might be a better route in BVI. Brokers need trade licenses too. Perhaps the examination of the brokers record might determine whether they are granteb a future trade license or not.

      • split says:

        There is in fact such a remedy under English law and is available in the BVI. No one may remember this but the staff of Barclays Bank did take such an action against FirstCaribbean Bank and won!
        If we should some unity for a change then big corporations would not take such advantages against regular people but we are so quick to bring each other down. If anyone do not support this that is your right but it does not mean you must be so openly negative about it and dissuade others from being part of it.
        There are comments about landlords being criminals for wanting their rent as well, but when you have insurance companies not paying out to landlords and banks wanting their mortgages paid, else are landlords supposed to find money to make these payments or to do necessary repairs to their properties? This is a cycle which unfortunately the less fortunate tenants are feeling the brunt of and if you look up the chain, it comes back to the big corporations ie banks and insurance companies. So tenants might do well to encourage their landlords to be part of this lawsuit because in the end it will be beneficial to them as well.

  7. Albion says:

    The difference is that in the BVI we have a Insurance Regulator whose sole job is to properly regulate insurance companies in the Territory. You can look them up:

    • Not 100% accurate says:

      The insurance laws and regulations in the BVI only pertain to offshore finance, trusts, etc. not much there in terms of local business. But if I am wrong and you find a clause in the law that relates to locals purchasing insurance be sure to correct me.

  8. Kingfish says:

    Are the insurance companies in the BVI Brokers / Agents or are they full insurance companies who take on some of the risks and reinsure some. If they are the former, they have no control over what their principals do in regards to claims. They are mainly the middleman. I can see a class action lawsuit against the local companies as well as their

    In regards to Albion post, all States and Countries have Insurance Regulator.

    • @Kingfish says:

      The brokers and agents are representatives of the major companies they represent. The corporate office I am sure has copies of the contracts they underwrote. They accepted folks premiums so all are liable.

  9. Boo says:

    The local companies except one are basically postal services for big companies.

    Someone please tell Mr Cline we will not forget the Pier Park nor Detroit. This search for relevance will lead nowhere but just bring up hopes of many to leave them dashed on the rocks of despair.

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