Administrator appointed at Quinn Insurance
Ireland's largest insurance firm was effectively in the control of the state today after the country's financial watchdog said it was gravely concerned about the company.
The High Court in Dublin appointed a provisional administrator to Quinn Insurance - owned by billionaire Sean Quinn - after an application by the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator.
The regulator said its officials are on the company floor overseeing the day-to-day business of Quinn Direct and Quinn Healthcare in the interests of policy holders.
In a statement, the regulator said it had launched an investigation into issues at Quinn Insurance which had recently come to light.
"The appointment of joint provisional administrators will better protect policy-holders," the regulator said.
"It will allow the firm to remain open for business, to continue to be run as a going concern under different management and to put the business on a sound commercial and financial footing."
The company also operates Quinn Insurance UK and the regulator has ordered this wing of the insurance giant to stop writing new business in the UK.
"Existing UK policyholders will not be affected by this decision as existing policies will remain valid. Customers can make claims in the normal way," the regulator said.
"The effect of this action is to prevent Quinn Insurance Limited suffering further financial losses from its currently unprofitable UK business."
The two main businesses affected by the court order are Quinn Healthcare and Quinn Direct, which offers motor, home and business policies.
It is understood the company's solvency levels were being monitored before the regulator decided to move in.
Quinn will continue to trade as normal and will remain open for business.
The regulator said the Quinn Life business is a separate entity and unaffected by the court action.