'Dire fallout' if Quinn Insurance collapses
AS the bid process for Quinn Insurance finally cranks into gear, Irish businesses last night warned of disastrous consequences if the Cavan insurance giant isn't kept intact.
Representing close to 300 companies who do business with Quinn Insurance and the wider Quinn Group, Concerned Irish Business (CIB) was set up earlier in the summer to lobby for the insurer's salvation.
The group wants Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) to be taken over by Anglo Irish Bank, a deal it says would allow both QIL and the Quinn Group to remain intact.
Any other deal could see thousands of jobs lost among companies that trade with Quinn, since it could trigger the collapse of the entire Cavan conglomerate, CIB warned last night.
Businesses right across the country would also suffer from a QIL fire-sale, as premiums for commercial insurance would inevitably rise if QIL was subsumed into an existing insurer, CIB said.
"I don't think people have gotten to grips with the ripple effect throughout Ireland if Quinn isn't saved," Kieran Murray, a CIB member who owns a Dublin printing company that does work for QIL.
"If we lose that business [from the Quinn Group and QIL], that'll have a knock-on effect on three or four jobs [being cut] in our company."
John Roche, general secretary of the Irish Amusements Trades Association, warned of dire consequences for the industry's 13,000 staff if QIL doesn't remain intact.
"Before Quinn, we were held to ransom by big insurance companies. With Quinn, we formed a group scheme and members reduced their premiums by 20pc, 30pc, even 50pc.
"If our business has to go back paying the same premiums we were paying eight or nine years ago, we might as well close down," he said.
Hotelier Denis McCoy, who employs 230, said he had already been told his insurance premium would rocket from €150,000 to €300,000 if he had to move to another provider.
"We were told we were lucky, that it was only going to be doubled," he added.
Another businessman warned that a trade sale of QIL and a collapse of the Quinn Group could see a fresh mortgage crisis affecting thousands of Quinn-linked companies.
"If Quinn isn't supported [our insurance costs will go up] and we'll be priced out of the market," said Martin Tierney, who runs an export-orientated healthcare supplier.
"We support 15 staff who have mortgages to pay, how many thousands of mortgages across the country won't be paid if [Quinn] isn't saved?"