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Saturday 10 December 2016

Quinn's 'cut-price' policy ad sparks flurry of complaints

Published 16/09/2010 | 05:00

ADVERTS claiming motorists can "save up to 51pc" by insuring with embattled Quinn Direct has triggered complaints to the Financial Regulator.

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The news comes a week after Quinn confirmed it had upped its marketing spend by 10pc this year as administrators prepare to sell the business.

Quinn Insurance defended its current advertising campaign. In a statement last night, Quinn Insurance Limited stressed that its administrators had "conducted a full review of all prices and are satisfied that all areas of the company are now under-writing at a profitable level".

As part of the promotional campaign, ads published in late August featured price comparisons between Quinn's motor policies and those offered by FBD, Axa, Aviva, Allianz and 123.ie.

The campaign showed Quinn's policy for a 47-year-old civil servant came in at €288, against FBD's at €593, Axa's €533, Allianz's €514, 123.ie's €475 and Aviva's €391.

"We had serious concerns about it," one insurance company confirmed this week. It's not so much the price comparison, it's that Quinn is clearly still pricing at unsustainable levels. It's pricing at unsustainable levels that got Quinn into this situation (of admin- istration)."

His comments were echoed by other insurers who expressed disbelief that Quinn would be so "blatant" in admitting their below-industry pricing.

Some insurers were so moved by the ads they complained to the regulator, arguing that Quinn's low prices were being enabled by the insurer's exemption from market rules governing reserve levels.

Quinn was put into administration in April after the regulator discovered a massive hole in the insurer's balance sheet, pushing it below the required minimum reserving levels.

The administrators last week said premiums in the Irish market could rise by double-digit percentages over the next three months, after the group made losses of €127m last year.

A spokeswoman for the Financial Regulator last night said she could make no comment "in relation to contact with firms".

"The Central Bank and Financial Regulator have no remit in the pricing of insurance policies," she added.

See Focus, Page 7

Irish Independent

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