Following revelations that Quinn Insurance lost more than €700m in the year before it was placed into administration, former head of the insurer Sean Quinn still insists the blame lies with the accountants currently in charge.
Sean Quinn’s Claims
Quinn had claimed that the business had €1.1bn in liquid assets and €464m in property assets when Michael McAteer and Paul McCann were appointed administrators.
The Irish Times reports that the Quinn family said it was inevitable the reported losses would be “substantial” because the administrators were putting aside far more significant amounts of money to meet claims than was the norm in the industry.
The Quinn Group and Quinn Insurance
Calling for all documents relating to the involvement of the insurer’s new owners, Liberty Mutual, and Anglo Irish Bank, the Quinns also highlighted 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 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 the ICF would have to cover a €600m shortfall. The State will raise money by introducing a 1pc to 2pc levy on all non-life insurance policies. This means all Irish policyholders will pay extra on their house and car premiums.
Losses Confirmed By Independent Firms
Four independent firms of actuaries confirmed the losses in a review last July and August, said McAteer.
McAteer and McCann defended the insurer’s sale to US giant Liberty Mutual.
The cost to the taxpayer through the ICF would be more than €1bn if the sale of Quinn Insurance did not go ahead.
They also confirmed that there would 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 with experience taking over debt-laden and beleaguered firms.
About Sean Quinn
Sean Quinn is an Irish businessman once ranked as the wealthiest person in Ireland. He was born in 1947 in Derrylin, County of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Over the years, Quinn built a diverse business empire, starting with the extraction of gravel and eventually expanding into cement, glass manufacturing, hospitality, and insurance.
Quinn Insurance, one of the most notable companies in his portfolio, was founded in 1996. Initially, the company focused on providing commercial insurance products in Ireland. However, it quickly expanded its range of products and services, entering the personal insurance market and extending its presence to the UK. The company gained a reputation for its competitive prices and lean business model, growing rapidly and becoming one of the largest insurers in Ireland.
In the late 2000s, Quinn’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. His investments in Anglo Irish Bank, which ultimately collapsed during the global financial crisis, led to significant losses. This, combined with regulatory concerns and financial issues within Quinn Insurance, resulted in the Irish Financial Regulator putting the company into administration in 2010.
Despite attempts to regain control of his businesses, Sean Quinn lost most of his empire, and his family’s involvement in the companies diminished. Quinn Insurance was eventually sold to Liberty Mutual, an American insurance company, and was rebranded as Liberty Insurance.
Today, Sean Quinn’s once-thriving business empire is a cautionary tale about the risks of over-leveraging and the potential impact of economic downturns on even the most successful entrepreneurs.