Belfast Telegraph

CIB fears break up of Quinn Insurance

Irish businesses warned of disastrous consequences if the Cavan and Fermanagh insurance giant Quinn Insurance is not kept intact, as the bid process for the insurer cranked into gear.

Concerned Irish Business (CIB) was set up earlier in the summer to lobby for the insurer's salvation, and represents nearly 300 companies who do business with Quinn Insurance and the wider Quinn Group, founded by Co Fermanagh man Sean Quinn.

The group wants Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) to be taken over by Anglo Irish Bank - a deal they say would allow both QIL and the Quinn Group to remain intact.

Any other deal could see thousands of jobs lost amongst companies that trade with Quinn, since it could trigger the collapse of the entire Cavan conglomerate, CIB warned.

Businesses right across the country will also suffer from a QIL fire-sale, as premiums for commercial insurance would inevitably rise if QIL is subsumed into an existing insurer, CIB said.

Kieran Murray, a CIB member who owns a Dublin printing company which works for QIL, said: "I don't think people have gotten to grips with the ripple effect throughout Ireland if Quinn isn't saved.

"It's impossible to keep going in our industry, but we're staying at it hoping that it will turn at some time.

"If we lose that business (from the Quinn Group and QIL), that'll have a knock-on effect of three or four jobs (being cut) in our company."

John Roche, general secretary for the Irish Amusements Trades Association, warned of dire consequences for the industry's 13,000 staff if QIL does not remain intact.

"Before Quinn, we were held to ransom by big insurance companies," said Mr Roche.

"With Quinn, we formed a group scheme, and members reduced their premiums by 20%, 30%, even 50%.

"If our business has to go back paying the same premiums we were paying eight or nine years ago, we might as well close down."

Hotelier Denis McCoy, who employs 230, said he'd already been told his insurance premium would rocket from €150,000 to €300,000 if he had to move to another provider.

"We were told we were lucky that it was only going to be doubled," he added.

Another businessman has warned that a trade sale of QIL and a subsequent collapse of the Quinn Group could see a fresh mortgage crisis, as employees of thousands of Quinn-linked companies fell on hard times.