Letter defends Irish insurer’s claims model as benefiting policyholders, claimants and the firm

Quinn Insurance has come out fighting after posting a €58m (£51m) loss for 2008, hitting back at its critics in the UK market.

In a letter to its brokers, the controversial Irish insurer defended its results and business model, claiming that they “represent a very creditable performance against the backdrop of difficult economic conditions”.

In the letter, chief executive Colin Morgan took a side-swipe at rivals which have tried to capitalise on a string of recent high-profile developments, including a €3.25m fine from the Irish regulator late last year for making “unauthorised loans” to other parts of the Quinn empire. Sean Quinn was personally fined €200,000 and stepped down from his role as chairman and director of the insurance company.

Quinn has also come under fire for offering notably low premiums and taking a pro-active approach to settling claims.

The letter said: “In the UK market, we have been subject to criticism from many incumbents in the insurance industry. Notwithstanding this, we have continued to develop our presence in the market over the past six years and we have a large number of very loyal and satisfied clients whose insurance needs we have served very well and we look forward to continuing to do this.”

Regarding Quinn’s claims handling, Morgan wrote: “The company’s proactive claims model, which is continuously being enhanced, allows the company to settle claims faster than its competitors which benefits all parties including the company, policyholders and claimants.”

He added that Quinn had put up rates across most business classes in recent months.

Last winter, the company was dogged by rumours that it was in trouble. In February, Morgan told Insurance Times: “Someone was trying to attack us and did us some damage, but they ran out of steam pretty quickly.” He categorically denied the rumours.

The insurer’s 2008 results showed a €58m loss, compared with a €245m profit the previous year. It was hit hard by investments, which saw an €84m profit in 2007, compared with a €130m loss in 2008. The majority of the loss came from writedowns in equity and property.

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