Business Irish

Sunday 20 August 2017

Axa, Aviva and Tatten may take look at Quinn Insurance

Former VIVAS Health chief executive Oliver Tatten is believed to be monitoring the situation and may put together a consortium
Former VIVAS Health chief executive Oliver Tatten is believed to be monitoring the situation and may put together a consortium

Emmet Oliver and Maeve Dineen

A NUMBER of international insurance companies and local interests have emerged as potential bidders for Quinn Insurance if it comes up for sale.

Apart from VHI, most of the local rivals to Quinn are expected to take a look at the company which is currently under the control of court-appointed joint administrators.

Aviva and AXA are both expected to consider a bid if the pricing is attractive, while a number of Dutch insurers could also come forward, although they may be put off by Ireland's community rating system in the area of health insurance.

Monitoring

The former managing director of the VHI, Oliver Tatten, is also believed to be monitoring the situation and may put together a consortium.

The other company which could emerge as a possible suitor is FBD Insurance, although the amount of capital needed may be beyond it.

Nobody from the company was available to comment yesterday on its intentions.

BUPA, another major insurer is unlikely to re-enter the Irish market and last night a source said Eureko, the Dutch insurer, were not likely to add to their existing operations in Ireland which consist of Friends First.

A senior insurance source said the various segments of Quinn Insurance may be attractive individually, particularly the car insurance book.

But it may be more difficult to line up a buyer for the entire company, which posted a pre-tax loss of €58m in its last financial year.

General insurance is under severe pressure at present with margins either non-existent or very small for most players.

The biggest obstacle of all to a purchase is the amount of regulatory capital any purchaser will have to put up.

Solvency

This will be needed to capitalise the new company and get it over the solvency requirements of the regulator.

Such requirements are likely to put off any private equity interest.

Grant Thornton has received more than 12 expressions of interest. But it has decided not to talk to any of these firms at this point.

The staff from Grant Thornton are believed to have arrived at several Quinn Insurance offices over recent days.

The fate of Quinn Insurance will be decided on April 12th when a hearing will be held on the administration order put over the company this week.

Quinn Insurance is expected to strongly object to the administration which it calls "aggressive'' and "totally wrong''.

Irish Independent

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