Business Irish

Saturday 17 March 2018

Quinn Insurance barred from 90pc of UK business

Sean Quinn, founder of Quinn Insurance Ltd
Sean Quinn, founder of Quinn Insurance Ltd

Laura Noonan and Emmet Oliver

QUINN Insurance remains locked out of more than 90pc of its UK business despite the easing of a ban imposed by the Financial Regulator.

The category re-opened -- provisional drivers' insurance -- accounted for less than 10pc of Quinn's UK premiums last year.

The narrowness of the trade permitted by the regulator has devastating implications for the 1,500 staff who work on the business across the UK and Northern Ireland.

Staff have been told to prepare for job losses at an announcement next Friday, when administrators Paul McCann and Michael McAteer will unveil their assessment of the business.

Quinn staff yesterday appealed to the regulator to speed up the process of re-opening other UK lines, stressing that jobs would be lost if the decision was delayed

Quinn estimated it was losing between €1m and €1.5m a day when it was totally banned from the UK market, a situation that would not have been eased much by this week's small reprieve.

In a statement, the Financial Regulator stressed that it would give "prompt consideration" to any proposals brought by the administrators as long as they were "backed by robust and detailed information".

The administrators have a four-man actuarial team in the UK churning out information for the regulator in a bid to secure a wider easing of the UK ban.

The effort being put into the this means the administrators have ruled out starting the sales process for Quinn Insurance for at least six weeks.

In the interim, interested buyers have the option of approaching the Quinn Group directly and trying to buy its shares in Quinn Insurance.

Quinn Group has the power to petition the courts to take Quinn Insurance out of administration, potentially offering a back door for would-be purchasers.

Such an application would be likely to need the support of both the administrators and the Financial Regulator.

The most likely party to take this route is Anglo Irish Bank, which remains locked in talks that could see it become the major shareholder in the Quinn Group and ultimately Quinn Insurance.

Business: Page 33

Irish Independent

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