Belfast Telegraph

Quinn takeover complete by August

The Quinn Insurance takeover will be complete by mid-August after company returns revealed losses of 706 million euro in 2009.

The aggressive insurer founded by tycoon Sean Quinn is being sold to US insurance giant Liberty Mutual and nationalised Anglo-Irish Bank in a deal that could force Irish consumers to cover as much as 85% of losses.

The buyers have been given the green light by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to tap a special reserve to write off 600 million euro of Quinn's loss-making policies.

And premiums on home and car policies in particular are expected to bear the brunt of levies to plug a shortfall in the State-owned Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF).

Despite the financial pain for consumers, the takeover guarantees jobs for 1,570 Quinn Insurance workers in Dublin, Cavan and Enniskillen.

A spokesman for Mr Noonan said: "This sale process has secured virtually all of the jobs in the company and that is very good news for the staff."

The pressure on consumers may ease as Liberty-Anglo are committed to diverting 25% of profits to repay the fund. Losses at Quinn Insurance, in administration since early last year, were blamed on unprofitable business in the UK worth 559 million euro and sinking property investments which cost the business 147 million euro. Another 160 million euro losses are expected for 2010.

The State-owned insurance compensation scheme is likely to be funded by levies on insurance policies, as was done twice in the past. The fund currently only holds 30 million euro.

In a statement the Quinn family said it was dismayed and saddened by what it claimed was the undermining of the value of the company since the appointment of administrators.

The family have called on the Government to make public all documents relating to the work of the administrators and the involvement of Anglo Irish and Liberty Mutual.

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