Friday 24 November 2017

Insurance firm PMPA to exit administration after 30 years

Tim Healy

THE former PMPA motor insurance company - saved from total collapse by State intervention - is to finally exit administration after some 30 years.

Final orders made today by High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns mean the administration of PMPA, which changed its name to Primor plc, will conclude on June 10.

The judge noted much time has passed since the company was placed in administration in 1983 and a long process was involved.

"It would be nice to think difficulties of this sort would not arise again in this sector," he said.

On the application of Rossa Fanning BL, the judge earlier made several orders, including for final repayment of some €1.1m to the State's Insurance Compensation  Fund, bringing to some €11.1m the total sums repaid.

During the period of the administration, a total of some €150m drawdowns from the fund to meet the obligations of the PMPA business were approved by the courts.

In other orders, the judge approved fees for administrator Vincent Clancy of some €172,000, including VAT, to cover the period November

2010 to April 2013. Those fees represented a 20 per cent reduction in the normal rates approved by the High Court in 2006 for the staff of the accountancy firm, PWC, who worked for Mr Clancy in the administration, the judge noted.

He also made orders providing Mr Clancy's appointment as administrator will be terminated in two weeks time and for the dissolution of Primor plc. The Department of Finance and Central Bank had consented to the orders, Mr Fanning said.

PMPA was placed in administration in late 1983. Then the largest motor insurer in the State, it had about 300,000 policy holders, many of which covered more than one driver,  and about 32 per cent of the motor insurance market.

It changed its name to Primor plc after its insurance business was sold in 1989 to Guardian Royal Exchange (now AXA Insurance) which carried on the business under the name New PMPA.

Much of the task of the administration centred on settling outstanding liabilities. Mr Clancy was appointed administrator in September 1995 replacing Peter Fitzpatrick who in 1989 had replaced the original administrator, Kevin Kelly, all of PWC.

In an affidavit, Mr Clancy said the number of claims dealt had reduced steadily and were very low from 1999.

He said it was not possible to seek an end to the administration as he was advised it would be possible for an insured who had suffered an accident to make a claim in the three year period after they turned 18.  Having secured advice, he was considered preferable to continue the administration to 2010 as a result of which some €11.1m was being repaid to the Insurance Compensation Fund.

He was also advised it would be appropriate to have an audit and actuarial report carried out prior to discharge of the administration, he said.

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