Company due back in court on Monday as insurer searches for solution to secure the ‘long-term position’ of business
Quinn continued its rearguard action to keep its insurance business afloat this week, following the last-minute adjournment of a High Court hearing to put the company into full administration.
On Monday, the Irish High Court postponed for one week the regulator’s bid to put Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) into permanent administration.
The adjournment followed the filing by Quinn of an affidavit containing new information.
In a statement issued following the hearing, Quinn Group called on the regulator to lift its ban on writing UK insurance business.
The statement said: “We are hopeful that [the adjournment] will provide time to progress meaningful discussions towards an overall resolution.
“Notwithstanding recent issues, we believe the underlying QIL business is profitable and that the operational model is robust, having brought much-needed competition to the market and improved service levels to consumers.
“The Quinn Group believes that it is in the best interests of all stakeholders, and primarily the policyholders and staff, that this model is allowed to continue under whatever solution emerges.
“In particular we would urge the reopening of business in the UK as a matter of urgency in order to ensure sustainable future employment and preserve value in QIL.”
It said the Quinn Group would continue to search for a solution that secured the “long-term position” of the business and its employees.
John Hennessy, senior counsel for the regulator, said that the affidavit merited careful consideration, even though it did not add much of substance to allay the watchdog’s serious concerns about Quinn.
Meanwhile, the Taoiseach [prime minister] Brian Cowen has said he will not step into the regulator’s affairs over Quinn.
Following a request from Quinn, Cowen spoke to chairman Sean Quinn a fortnight ago.
As part of a wider effort to restore the Irish financial sector’s battered reputation, Cowen told Quinn that the matter was now in the regulator’s hands.
However, he said that he would authorise Enterprise Ireland, the Irish economic development agency, to meet Quinn representatives to see if they can offer help to the beleaguered insurer.
The taoiseach’s comments followed a denial by the Quinn Group that it needs €700m (£618m) to restore itself to solvency. It insists that €100-€150m will be sufficient.
The Financial Times has reported that rival UK insurers had warned the FSA over the course of several years that Quinn’s business model was unsustainable.