As Quinn is banned from UK commercial lines, will anybody be prepared to take on the insurer's baggage?

A “huge disappointment” to its customers is how Quinn described this week’s decision by the Irish regulator to ban it from re-entering UK commercial lines business. Whether that sentiment is shared across the industry is very much a moot point.

For many brokers, the Irish insurer will be no great loss, given the role it has played in driving down rates across the board. The focus inevitably turns to who will buy the company. The recent rebound in motor rates means Quinn’s book looks better than it did a few months ago, although the extent of its prior-year claims remains unclear.

And anybody wanting to buy Quinn will have to take account of the considerable reputational baggage that accompanies the Irish insurer. Name a troubled line of business – be it solicitors’ professional indemnity or personal motor – and Quinn seems to have been there.

And while the company has plenty of customers, particularly in motor, how many will stick around once the process of hiking rates has worked its way through? For the big boys of the UK market, Quinn hardly looks worth the time and trouble. That leaves the most likely buyer as an outside outfit seeking a foothold in the UK and Irish market.

Whoever steps in, one motto will be especially apposite in this case: buyer beware. IT