Buyout secures 330 jobs at insurer

THE future of over 330 jobs at the country’s second-biggest health insurance firm has been secured following a senior management-led buyout.

Quinn Healthcare confirmed yesterday that a bid by its four-person senior management team in Cork, backed by global reinsurance giant Swiss Re, had been successful.

Elips Life, a wholly- owned subsidiary of Swiss Re, will also be appointed as the underwriter.

The deal secures the future of 334 jobs at the insurer’s Cork offices. The company’s 400,000 customers will be unaffected, with no changes to the terms and conditions of their policies.

Following the collapse of the Quinn Group, its health insurance business was taken over by state-owned Anglo Irish Bank (now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) and was placed in administration.

Dónal Clancy, Quinn Healthcare managing director, said he and his team had been working on their bid for several months and were delighted to break the good news to staff yesterday morning.

“They are a fabulous team who have held their heads high during difficult times and retained business.”

The management buyout marks the second time the business has changed hands in just years. Quinn Healthcare bought it from Bupa in 2007 when it was valued at about €130 million.

Mr Clancy declined to discuss the sale price but industry experts said it would have been substantially less than the 2007 figure.

The management behind the bid have vast experience in the industry, both in Ireland and internationally. Most have been with the company since it launched as Bupa Ireland in 1996.

Health Minister James Reilly said he welcomed the certainty that the announcement would bring to customers and to the private health insurance market.

Meanwhile, the HSE is expecting to break even by the end of the year. Its latest performance report shows a €242m overspend at the end of November.

A supplementary estimate of €148m was approved by the Dáil this month, with €58m meeting a shortfall arising from lower than expected uptake of early retirement and voluntary redundancy and €90m to meet deficits in services.

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