Liberty enjoys pre-tax profit of €20.1m

The US insurance firm that assumed the former business of Quinn Insurance two years ago returned to profit last year.

Liberty Insurance, which assumed the former business of Quinn Insurance in partnership with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) recorded pre-tax profits last year of €20.1m.

Boston-based Liberty was also the former sponsor of The Late Late Show. The deal was worth around €1m per year to RTÉ but the insurer opted not to renew the deal this year.

New accounts show that Liberty Insurance Ltd in its first full year of operation generated total income of €224m.

This compared to an income of €27.5m for the period between Nov 11 and Dec 31, 2011.

The firm, which provides motor, property and liability insurance, recorded an operating loss of €1.2m.

According to the directors’ report, “this has been the first full year of trading for the company and not unexpectedly, the performance of the business has been challenged”.

However, investment income totalling €28m, unrealised gains on investment of €37m, and other income of €10.9m contributed to the firm’s pre-tax profit.

Net premiums written last year totalled €162.2m, with claims net of re-insurance amounting to €161m.

The firm’s operating expenses of €64.2m included acquisition costs of €14.3m.

The firm’s total assets at the end of December last totalled €1.19bn.

Late last year, the business restructured seeking 285 redundancies. The report states the number seeking voluntary redundancy was higher, with the firm also imposing “a small number of compulsory redundancies in order to ensure that an effective re-organisational structure was in place.

Staff numbers last year reduced only marginally from 1,477 to 1,457. Staff costs totalled €50.7m, with salary costs of €20.9m recharged to Quinn Insurance as per the terms of the Transitional Service Agreement.

The directors state they recognise that improving underwriting performance takes time and a multi-year programme has been agreed to return the company to underwriting profitability.

“This, in conjunction with the entry to Northern Ireland and Great Britain markets, will allow the company to position itself to become a significant presence in the Irish insurance market and to develop profitably niches in the competitive UK markets.”

Emoluments to directors last year totalled €489,000.

In a subsequent event, the directors state that €106.7m was received from Quinn Insurance Ltd under administration in January.

IBRC, which has been placed in administration, has a 49% share in the firm.


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