Livelihoods at risk as insurer folds

The pressure on small business people to come up with money to insure their vans after the collapse of Setanta Insurance in Malta has reduced men to tears.

Livelihoods at risk as insurer folds

Managing director of Jonathan Hehir said that a painter decorator was crying in the business reception as he was struggling to come up with the money to insure his van. The customer had received some money following the death of a family member and had put it into setting up a decorating business. He was now forced to go begging to friends and family to try and scrape enough money together to insure the van on which his business depends.

Mr Hehir said the liquidation of Setanta insurance on Thursday had caused devastation. “It is unprecedented. I’ve never seen anything like it. We have seen the collapse of insurance providers before with Quinn insurance. When that happened the Central Bank came out and said that people now had better cover than before, but this time they are saying people have nothing.” has been inundated with calls receiving more than 3,000 in the first few hours of Good Friday. Mr Hehir said some customers had rung after being stopped by the Garda and threatened with having their vehicles seized as they were no longer covered.

“One Setanta customer was stopped last night and the gardaí said that, if he saw him driving again, that he would take his van from him,” Mr Hehir said.

A spokesperson for the Garda said: “We would ask motorists to contact their broker to verify their position and take out new cover if needed.”

In total, there are about 75,000 people who have found themselves uninsured following Setanta’s collapse. The company said it would not be able to repay premiums meaning that many people are forced to pay for their insurance twice.

“People are ringing up and inquiring about taking out new cover, but they are not able to afford to insure their vans. They are borrowing laser cards from friends or asking people to put money into their accounts so that they can take out insurance,” Mr Hehir said.

Setanta Insurance was not regulated in Ireland but the company did file accounts with the companies registration office. The most recent accounts for Setanta Insurance Services Limited for 2012 show that the company had assets valued at €961,511 and liabilities for the year of €867,984 resulting in a healthy profit of €93,527.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Setanta Holdings Limited registered in 171, Old Bakery Street, Valletta, Malta.

The statement on Setanta’s website following the collapse of the business noted that the liquidator, Dr Louis Cassar Pullicino, is

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