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Monday 24 July 2017

Consumers won't face levy on health and travel cover

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

CONSUMERS with health insurance and travel cover will escape any levy imposed to pay for the Quinn Insurance company crisis.

However, a levy of up to 2pc could be put on other insurance policies as a result of the High Court move to put Quinn into administration.

In the Dail yesterday, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan confirmed that the introduction of a levy on some insurance premiums was a possibility if Quinn Insurance was unable to meet its claims out of its own reserves -- which are €200m in deficit.

"Clearly there is no call on the need for a levy at this stage. When the administrator has conducted a preliminary review of the company, he will be in a better position to know exactly how to proceed," he said.

Mr Lenihan recalled that such an insurance levy of 2pc had been imposed on all non-life-insurance premiums from 1984 to 1992 to cover the costs of the collapsed PMPA insurance company.

But he confirmed that health insurance, as well as marine, aviation and travel insurance, would be exempt from any future levy.

Mr Lenihan strongly rejected claims from Quinn Insurance owner Sean Quinn that the Financial Regulator's move to apply for interim administrators for the company was "highly aggressive and unnecessary" and could place 5,500 jobs at risk across the Quinn Group.

He said that if anything had been learnt from the banking crisis, it was the need to meet all regulatory requirements.

Deficit

The Financial Regulator applied to the High Court for interim administrators to be appointed to Quinn Insurance after it learnt that €448m of its assets had been used to guarantee €1.2bn of the Quinn Group's debts over a five-year period.

Quinn Insurance has a deficit of €200m in its reserves, raising fears it does not have sufficient funds to cover an influx of insurance claims.

Opposition TDs expressed concern about the futures of people employed by Quinn Insurance. Fine Gael TD Michael Noonan asked: "Could you communicate the views to the Financial Regulator that we regard the preservation of employment as a priority?"

Irish Independent

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