Quinn cannot restart British business

QUINN Insurance has been told it does not have enough capital reserves to restart writing commercial business in Britain.

But the board of Quinn Group, which represents the Quinn family and shareholders, said they are “very disappointed” by the decision of the Central Bank and Financial Regulator.

The board said Quinn Insurance is now in its eighth year of selling commercial business in Britain and added that during that time the profitability of this line has historically been over 30% better than other business lines. They said the announcement will be a “huge disappointment” to its British customers.

“The failure to reopen the UK commercial business, even in the short-term, represents a very serious and unnecessary loss of profitable export opportunity and related export jobs,” the board said.

The Central Bank and Financial Regulator made the announcement yesterday after it studied proposals submitted by the Quinn Insurance administrators. Last week it was revealed that Quinn Insurance, in administration, suffered a trading loss of €127.5 million on its underwriting activities last year as well as exceptional costs of €677.6m relating to the writedown of certain non-core assets held by subsidiaries.

Yesterday, the Central Bank and Financial Regulator said the capital that is needed to resume writing commercial insurancein Britain is currently unavailable to the company.

“As a consequence, the Central Bank and Financial Regulator is not in a position to modify its direction in order to allow QIL write commercial insurance in the UK,” the regulator said.

However, it added that should the company obtain sufficient capital and return to required solvency levels in the future, consideration may be given to a review.

They said this decision does not affect Quinn Insurance’s authorisation to write British private motor insurance or general insurance business here.

Quinn Insurance said settlement of claims on existing British commercial business will continue as normal. In a statement Quinn Insurance said: “QIL, however, confirms despite this outcome, and due to the strong underlying performance of other divisions within QIL, those employees working on UK commercial insurance will be redeployed into other areas and that there will be no further job losses as a result of this decision.”

Of the trading losses recently reported on its underwriting activities, €41m related to its business in Ireland and €86m to Britain. It is thought up to 20 parties are interested in taking over the firm. Deadline for bids for Quinn Insurance is this Friday.

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