Zurich-owned underwriting agency Wrightway Underwriting which wrote business on behalf of collapsed insurer Enterprise has said it will refund outstanding premiums after 14,000 Irish motorists were hit by the insurer’s failure, according to reports.
Late on Friday, Enterprise announced that the Gibraltar regulator Financial Services Commission (FSC) had ordered it to stop writing new insurance contracts after the insurer advised that it was insolvent and had been unable to secure additional funding.
A spokesman for Wrightway declined to say how much money was involved, other than it was a “significant” amount which would be funded by the company’s own resources, the Irish Times reports.
Wexford-based Wrightway entered into an agreement with Enterprise Insurance in 2014 to offer motor insurance in Ireland through the Irish company’s broker network.
The company said: “Wrightway has committed to helping its broker clients deal with affected policy-holders and, with this in mind, Wrightway has decided to make an ex gracia payment to its brokers to pass onto their policy holders which is equal to the value of the premiums from now until the end of their current policy contracts.”
The spokesman added that Wrightway executives were not available for further comment.
While the FSC has said that all policies are still in force and that customers do not need to take any action at this stage, the Irish Central Bank has advised affected motorists to seek alternative cover.
A spokesman for the FSC also said the regulator did not know how long the policies would remain in place.
With an interim liquidator set to be appointed to the insolvent insurer soon, it has “yet to be determined” how any shortfall in funds to cover existing and future claims on current policies would be covered, she said.
It also emerged over the weekend that the Central Bank in Dublin had asked the GFSC earlier this year to review the Irish motor business of Gibraltar-based firms, drawing attention to its report last year on rising insurance claims and costs.
Enterprise Insurance also had businesses in France, Greece, Italy, Norway, and the UK. The Gibraltar authorities have indicated that they plan to pass the potential costs on to the compensation funds in the other countries.
A government-commissioned report recommended on Friday that third-party motor claims arising from the liquidation of an insurer should be met in full by the state-run Insurance Compensation Fund, with the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland contributing 35%.