Money unrelated to the company loans that led to €3m fine in 2008

Quinn Insurance has paid out €600m (£554.8m) in ‘gifts’ to other companies in its group since 2003, it has emerged. The gifts came out of profits the Irish giant made between 2003 and 2008.

The gifts contributed towards billionaire Sean Quinn’s business empire, which includes chemicals, construction, packaging and plastics.

A spokesman for Quinn Insurance said the gifts were not related to the controversial €288m loans that Quinn Insurance made to the multinational empire. These resulted in Quinn being fined €3m by the Irish Financial Regulator in October last year.

Sean Quinn was personally fined €200,000 and stepped down from his role as chairman and director of the insurance company.

A spokesman said: “These amounts are not loans and do not relate to the loan that was the subject of the fine last year, a matter which is fully dealt with by the Financial Regulator.”

The details emerged on the day that Quinn released its official accounts for 2008, although the results were originally reported in May by Insurance Times.

Quinn reported a €58m loss in 2008, while the time chief executive Colin Morgan sent a letter to brokers saying the results “represent a very creditable performance against the backdrop of difficult economic conditions”.

Meanwhile, Quinn Direct has said it will protect no-claims bonuses for customers caught up in the Irish flooding, if they contacted the insurer by a set deadline. Loss adjuster Cunningham Lindsey said the floods in Ireland in mid-November would cost insurers almost €200m.

An Irish Insurance Federation spokesman said: “Premium levels are dictated by the cost of claims. The value of claims last year was up 56% on the level in 2007.”

He said insurers had lost €160m on home insurance last year.