Thursday 18 January 2018

Insurer facing regulatory probe sends home dividends of €30m to US parent

Laura Noonan

EMBATTLED Combined Insurance, the niche insurer whose sales and governance practices are being probed by the Financial Regulator, sent home dividends of €30m to its US parent last year.

The dividend figures are revealed in the latest Insurance Statistical Review and come almost six weeks after Combined pulled its sales force off the road so they could undergo training.

The Irish Independent has learnt that about 400 Combined agents are being paid €100 a day to attend training sessions as the Financial Regulator's probe continues.

The level of new business being written by the insurer is unclear, but it is understood there has been no instructions from the regulator that would prohibit selling new policies.

Directly employing about 50 people, Combined specialises in accident and illness products such as hospital benefit, sickness income plans and accidental disability plans.

The latest statistical review, published last week, showed Combined attracted premiums of almost €40m last year and paid out claims of €17.3m.

After paying various costs, the niche insurer recorded a profit of €7.4m on its 'technical account', the core measure of an insurance company's earnings.

Some €30m was then sent back to Combined's parent, US insurance giant Ace, matching the dividends paid in 2008.

A spokesman for Combined last week said he had "no comment" to make on the regula-tor's probe, Combined's trading or the training. The probe is understood to have been triggered by public complaints about the insurer's practices.

Irish Independent

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