Insurers step in while Quinn fights regulator on Irish sanctions

Quinn Insurance will not renew UK policies unless it received written instructions to do so before 6 April, its administrators told brokers in a letter this week.

As the Irish insurer vowed to fight the financial regulator in its home country, it appeared to be entering run-off in the UK, saying it would not even honour renewal quotations unless they had been accepted in writing. Quinn Insurance has been placed in provisional administration pending a High Court hearing in Dublin on 12 April.

Brokers that have books of business with Quinn have been frantically trying to find new homes for their clients over the past seven days and have been in emergency talks with leading insurers, including Aviva and AXA.

The letter, sent to UK brokers by Quinn’s administrators on 2 April, states: “Existing policies with Quinn Insurance Limited with a renewal date up to and including Tuesday 6 April 2010 can be renewed, providing written renewal instructions have been received prior to 6 April 2010. Terms will not be offered on renewals past this date.

“If you have already received renewal terms from Quinn Insurance and not issued us with written instruction prior to 6 April 2010, the terms offered will be retracted.

“It is important to note that existing UK policyholders will not be affected by this decision and will remain valid. The claims procedure has not changed and claims continue to be made in the normal way. Outstanding claims will be treated in the usual manner.”

Aviva’s intermediary and partnerships director, Janice Deakin, said the insurer had already picked up a couple of clients from Quinn and was in discussions over more.

She said: “There’s a lot of demand – our guys are really busy talking to the brokers. There’s lot out in the market. The biggest problem is we know the book was underpriced, so it’s about working through with the broker the best solution for the client, without hitting them all at once with what they need to pay for that business.”

AXA commercial lines managing director Ant Middle said: “We have picked up some cases and we are in negotiations on some more; things should be clearer by the end of this week. We are looking at this on a case-by-case basis, and for acceptable business, we are being as helpful as we can.”

Other insurers were thought to be offering blanket deals on books of Quinn business.