Following revelations that Quinn Insurance lost more than €700m in the year prior to it being placed into administration, former head of the insurer Sean Quinn is still insisting the blame lies with the accountants currently in charge.
Quinn has claimed that the business had €1.1bn in liquid assets and €464m in property when Michael McAteer and Paul McCann were appointed as administrators.
The Irish Times this morning reports that the Quinn family said it was inevitable the reported losses would be “substantial” because the administrators were putting aside far greater amounts of money to meet claims than was the norm in the industry.
Calling for all documents relating to the involvement of the insurer’s new owners, Liberty Mutual and Anglo Irish Bank, the Quinns also highlighted the fact that €200m of the firm’s assets were being used to repay the debts of the overall Quinn Group.
In a statement to the paper, the family said if all documents relating to the purchase of the insurer were not published then, “the cover-up of the erosion of value at the expense of the Irish taxpayer at Quinn Insurance will never be revealed.”
“The repeated statements of the joint administrators to the High Court and to the media that the company was profitable and there would be no call on the Insurance Compensation Fund now need to be reconciled with the results announced today,” the family added.
It was revealed yesterday that a €600m shortfall will have to be covered by the ICF. Money will be raised by the State by introducing a 1pc to 2pc levy on all non-life insurance policies. This means all Irish policy holders will pay extra on their house and car premiums.
In response to Sean Quinn’s statement, the Grant Thornton accountants said they did not want to “get involved in a slanging match”.
Four independent firms of actuaries confirmed the losses in a review last July and August, said McAteer.
Both McAteer and McCann defended the sale of the insurer to US giant Liberty Mutual.
The cost to the taxpayer through the ICF would be in excess of €1bn if the sale of Quinn Insurance had not gone ahead.
They also confirmed that there will be no job losses at the company’s offices across Ireland, where over 1,500 people are employed.
“Staff were very happy in all locations. It has been a long road. It has been 13 months. It is a good day,” said McCann, explaining that Liberty Mutual is a Fortune 100 company that has experience taking over debt-laden and beleaguered firms.