Quinn to hike premiums amid €127m losses

QUINN INSURANCE made operating losses of €127 million last year and it is planning to hike premiums by double-digit figures in the next three months.

According to provisional figures, Quinn, which is currently in administration, made a loss of €41m in Ireland and €86m in Britain last year.

In Ireland, the company took a €15m hit on the health insurance levy and another €15m was lost on the floods and the big freeze. Figures also showed that Quinn recorded a writedown of certain assets of €677m last year.

The company said that this year the business it is writing is profitable on a monthly basis and it is “not losing customers”.

In Britain, where it is only offering motor insurance, the company is planning major increases in premiums. Having gone up 15% already, prices are expected to increase another 15% at the end of this month.

Quinn said the results for 2009 do not affect policy holders. It has paid out more than half a billion euro in customer claims so far this year and it continues to process claims as normal.

The 2009 underwriting losses primarily result from increased flood claims, the introduction of the Government health levy and an increase in claims provisions in line with market trends.

The company said the audit of its figures for the financial year 2009 is not yet complete.

Meanwhile, insurance companies in Ireland made combined losses of €124m compared with profits of almost €122m in the previous year. Of this, Irish authorised companies incurred an underwriting loss of €21.7m, while branches of companies authorised in other jurisdictions made a loss of €102.8m.

The figures, contained in the Financial Regulator’s annual Insurance Statistical Review, show that at the end of last year there were 188 Irish-authorised insurance undertakings located in Ireland.

Employment at these firms fell almost 12% to 13,021 in the year.

According to the report, just over €64m was paid out in respect of claims both fully settled and in the course of settlement, and, as at the end of 2009 the provisions for all unsettled claims, notified and yet-to-be-notified, stood at almost €420m.

Total gross premium income received by head offices and branches in Ireland amounted to just over €40bn compared with €38bn in 2008. In 2009, €28bn of the total was generated by life companies and almost €12bn by non-life companies.

Motor insurance represented 36.36% of the market compared with last year, fire and other damage to property represented 25.98%. Accident and health business represented 17.51% while liability represented 16.7%.

The information in the review is primarily sourced from the regulatory returns provided by insurance companies to the Regulator.

The cost of insurance has been rising sharply over the last few years.


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