Quinn report indicates ‘business as usual’

THE latest report from the joint administrators of Quinn Insurance has declared it is “business as usual” while they continue to retain merchant bankers to advise them on any prospective sale of the group.

The administrators also anticipate the number of redundancies required from the workforce of 2010 will be 800, not 900 as they originally forecast.

Some 75 jobs had been retained at the insurer’s Enniskillen office when it was initially anticipated that a number of redundancies would be required there and redundancies to date were made on an agreed basis, the court heard.

The third report was presented to the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, yesterday who was told elements of it were confidential due to commercial reasons. Among the confidential elements was a section of the report dealing with the solvency of the insurer.

Bernard Dunleavy, for administrators Michael McAteer, and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, said the Financial Regulator had sought changes at board level across the insurer and those changes had been effected in 19 of 20 subsidiaries. The regulator had also asked the administrators to address certain confidential issues and a one-page synopsis of their response was being handed in to the court, counsel said.

Mr Dunleavy said the task and goal of the administrators was to return the insurer to a sound commercial footing. That was “going well” and the administrators had also been able to revisit their views on the number of redundancies required.

While volumes were down across a range of policy quotations, they were not down significantly on pre-administration levels and this underlined it was business as usual, counsel added.

He also said a full-time in-house actuarial facility was up and running.

Mr Dunleavy said merchant bankers Macquarie Capital Europe, part of the Australian-based Macquarie group, had been retained to advise the administrators on any prospective sale of the insurance group. That work was proceeding.

The judge approved payments to the end of September next of fees sought by the administrators and their lawyers, which had been made subject to a peer review which found them “fair and reasonable”. The fees were based on similar payments for June and the judge said he expected fees to reduce after September.

Mr Justice Kearns also stressed he was approving the fees in the particular circumstances of this unique case and they were not to be regarded as a precedent in ordinary and routine examinerships.

He was concerned the fees in this case had been cited in ordinary examinership hearings, the judge said. Mr Dunleavy said the fees for his clients were not intended to be a precedent in other cases.

The administrators previously secured approval of the costs of €565,000 for their work between March 30, 2010, and April 30, 2010, and liberty to invoice the company monthly up to the end of July for fees for sums not exceeding €1.8m.

The court also permitted them pay their solicitors, MacCann Fitzgerald, €120,000 for work between March 30 and April 30 last and further legal costs incurred since then.

The Financial Regulator put the insurer into administration last March after his office discovered guarantees had been provided by Quinn Insurance subsidiaries as far back as 2005 on Quinn Group debts of more than €1.2bn.


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