Saturday 3 December 2016

RSA 'astounded' at €1.25m award at EAT to former Irish boss

Published 06/07/2015 | 15:34

Former RSA chief executive Philip Smith and his wife Shirley leave the Employments Appeal Tribunal, Dublin
Former RSA chief executive Philip Smith and his wife Shirley leave the Employments Appeal Tribunal, Dublin

HOME and motor insurer RSA said it was “astounded” at a massive award made at employment appeals tribunal to its former Irish boss and intends to appeal it.

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Former Irish chief executive Philip Smith was awarded €1.25m in in a compensation payment last month. It was believed to be the largest ever employment tribunal award.

He took an Employment Appeals Tribunal case against RSA in Dublin, arguing he was effectively forced out of the company in late 2013 and made the “fall guy” after huge holes were found in the reserves of the insurer.

David Walsh, RSA Group general counsel, said RSA fundamentally disagreed with the judgement and was seeking redress through the courts.

In a statement the company took issue with a number of findings made by the tribunal, and will now appeal the decision to the circuit court.

The tribunal found that at least a dozen people in London-headquartered group knew about under-reserving.

But Mr Walsh said: “Contrary to the impression given by the tribunal decision, no-one at RSA Group level had any prior knowledge of the inappropriate large loss reserving practices which emerged in RSA Ireland.”

In unusually strong language for an insurance firm, Mr Walsh added: “We are astonished by the amount of the award made by the tribunal which RSA believes is utterly inconsistent with that crucial finding and creates a dangerous precedent.”

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