Belfast Telegraph

Quinn Insurance reveals drop in commercial premiums of 44%

By Laura Noonan

Quinn Insurance's commercial premiums have fallen by an average of 44% since the company went into administration, despite criticisms the insurer was chronically underpricing risk when it was controlled by Sean Quinn.

The company has said this stemmed from a "shift" in the type of policies being written after a strategic decision to pursue more "low-risk" business.

The premium erosion is revealed in Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) data for the first 26 weeks of the year, which also shows it attracted premiums of €110m (£95.4m) for the period, down 44% on the pre-administration half-year to end June 2009.

The sharpest fall in average premiums was for new commercial business, where average premiums dipped from €3,013 (£2,615) in the first half of 2009 to just €1,699 (£1,474) in the same period this year. The average premiums for commercial fleet renewals also fell sharply, coming in at €6,407 (£5,565) for the 26 weeks to end June 2011, against €9,957 (£8,649) for the first half of 2009.

The falls come as other insurers report hardening premiums. In a statement issued last night, QIL said average premiums had come down in both categories because of a "shift from higher-risk industries to lower-risk and lower-premium activity".

Private motor premiums for new customers have also fallen considerably, with average premiums for new business down from €1,102 (£957) in the first half of 2009 to €876 (£760) in the first half of this year, though the fall for renewals was a more muted €606 (£526) to €581 (£504).

Those falls are "due to a shift in our traditional market of under-30s provisional licence holders to more experienced drivers", QIL said, adding that the insurer had made a "strategic" decision to target a "more mature market".

The data also charts a significant fall-off in QIL's overall business in Ireland. QIL said the fact the insurer was now only writing private motor business in Northern Ireland "would obviously explain" the fall-off.