Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Insurance boss suspended in probe

The chief executive of RSA's Irish business has been suspended

Insurance group RSA has suspended the chief executive of its Irish business and two other senior staff after a routine internal audit uncovered "issues" that it says will result in a £70 million profits hit.

The company, which owns the More Than brand, said it was now cooperating with the Central Bank of Ireland in an investigation into "issues in the Irish claims and finance functions".

It announced that RSA Insurance Ireland had suspended chief executive Philip Smith, chief financial officer Rory O'Connor and claims director Peter Burke pending the outcome of the probe.

The company said: "No findings have been made against any individuals at this time.

"As a result of these issues, RSA estimates that its 2013 operating result will be £70 million lower than current market expectations.

"RSA Insurance Ireland has informed the Central Bank of Ireland and is working closely with them."

Mr Smith has headed the Irish business since 2007 and just two months ago was appointed group director for global brokers.

RSA, which is listed on the London stock market, made the announcement of the suspensions after the close of trading.

It said UK and Europe head Adrian Brown would now act as Ireland chief executive while group chief accountant Chris Rash would take on the finance role and UK and Europe claims director David Pitt would take on that function for Ireland.

Separately, the group announced that it had injected capital into RSA Ireland after identifying the need to increase reserves in response to increased bodily injury claim trends, set out in a trading update earlier this week.

Meanwhile in its third quarter trading update earlier this week, RSA revealed that October's St Jude's storm would leave it nursing a hit of up to £65 million after it wrought havoc across the UK and northern Europe.

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