Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Call for Quinn Insurance’s UK arm to fully reopen

New efforts are being made to enable crisis-hit Quinn Insurance to fully reopen its UK business amid warnings the situation for workers has reached crisis point.

Last week the Irish Financial Regulator said it would allow the firm to write insurance cover for UK provisional licence holders. But that only accounts for 10% of Quinn Insurance’s revenue.

Attempts to have the UK market reopened have intensified in the last 24 hours. It is understood that talks will continue between the Financial Regulator’s office and Quinn administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann from Grant Thornton.

One obstacle could be the UK’s Financial Services Authority, which is understood to have reservations about Quinn Insurance making a full return to the UK market. The company has been prevented from writing or selling new products in the UK after concerns were expressed about the firm’s financial strength.

Employees and politicians have called on regulator Matthew Elderfield to act swiftly.

When contacted yesterday, the regulator referred to a weekend statement. It said: “The Financial Regulator has requested further information and analysis from the administrators in relation to their proposed business plans for the UK market and will give prompt consideration to proposals backed by robust and detailed information, actuarial analysis and pricing. “Once further detailed information is provided, the Financial Regulator will examine the directions on the QIL UK business with a view to reopening of certain profitable business lines on a phased basis, in consultation with the UK Financial Services Authority.”

Workers' spokeswoman Mona Bermingham said time was running out to secure jobs.

“There are 1,500 people employed to facilitate the UK and Northern Ireland market.

“Only 10% of our market there has been reopened. You can do the mathematics yourself — theoretically 90% of those are at risk.”

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