Belfast Telegraph

Irish Life set to take on 5,000 Quinn Group policyholders

By Laura Noonan

Irish Life Assurance has said it would buy the majority of Quinn Life Direct's portfolio of life-assurance and pension business.

It is understood Quinn Group and its bondholders will not receive any significant cash from the sale of Quinn Life's pensions and life insurance policies.

Quinn Life is part of the non-core Quinn Group whose assets are being sold down to repay bondholders and lenders who now have €822m (£695m) of debt attached to the non-core unit.

However Irish Life's acquisition of €100m (£84.5m) of Quinn Life's policies will not result in any significant cash flowing to the non-core unit or the bondholders.

Insurance sources described the transaction as a "transfer", while some sources suggested that Irish Life could ultimately make money by providing services to Quinn Life.

With just 10 staff, Quinn Life was by far the smallest part of Sean Quinn's insurance empire, which also included general insurer Quinn Direct and Quinn Healthcare. The Irish Life deal is only for life and pension policies, rather than the company itself.

Quinn Life's staff are not transferring across and Quinn Life will cease writing new business.

In a statement, Irish Life said it "looks forward to welcoming" the Quinn Life policyholders, and that it will write to all 5,000 of them once the transfer goes through.

The only timeframe given was "by the end of 2012". The transfer of insurance assets needs approval from the Central Bank and also from the courts, which make sure policyholders aren't disadvantaged. Quinn Life said that the transfer was "in the best interest of policyholders".

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