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Insurer's brand name will disappear from Irish market

The Quinn brand name is set to disappear from the insurance landscape in Ireland after 15 years following the deal to take over the company by Anglo Irish and US giant Liberty Mutual.

Quinn Insurance started with one small outlet in O'Connell Street, Dublin, in 1996 and gradually grew into one of the largest insurers on the island, writing over €1bn of premiums per annum.

But a statement yesterday issued by Quinn administrators indicated the brand name would now be reviewed.

"A decision on the brand name that the company will trade under in the future will be announced in due course,'' it said.

It is understood the Quinn brand name was one of the factors behind a drop in customer numbers at the company over the last year and it is now almost certain to be dispensed with.

Effectively two new companies are emerging from Quinn Insurance, but Liberty will be running the Irish arm and is unlikely to want to use the Quinn name.

However, the deal involves all jobs being secured, the purchase of all Quinn Insurance offices (apart from Manchester) and the continued operation of the firm's headquarters from Cavan.

The remaining UK liabilities are not being taken over by Liberty, although it will manage these liabilities on behalf of the administrators for a fee.

These leftover liabilities will still be called Quinn Insurance, but within a year and half this arm will effectively stop doing business and go into a "run-off" arrangement.

The administrators who put the complex deal together, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, told the Irish Independent yesterday that after two years of losses (2009 and 2010) the Quinn Insurance business should break even this year. "Claims have been kind so far this year,'' said Mr McAteer.

The company has lost about 20pc of its customers over the period of the administration, but McCann said Liberty had liked the "look'' of the Irish insurance book.

The administrators did not want to comment on the strategy of Liberty in the Irish market, but McCann said the experience of the company was that it liked to "grow the book'', meaning it would look to add customers and get new business.

Representatives from the company addressed staff yesterday at various centres, but no details on what Liberty's pricing strategy might be were revealed.

A short statement simply said: "Once the acquisition receives all required approvals this business will become an important contributor to Liberty Mutual Group's overall success''.

Irish Independent