Page last updated at 19:28 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 20:28 UK

Easing of restrictions on Quinn Insurance

Quinn Insurance employs 600 people in County Fermanagh
Quinn Insurance employs 600 people in County Fermanagh

Ireland's Financial Regulator has eased restrictions placed on Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL)that prevented it from issuing new insurance cover in the UK.

On Wednesday the regulator said it would allow the firm to write new insurance cover for provisional licence holders in the United Kingdom.

The office said it had taken the decision after careful consideration.

QIL is in administration after the regulator raised concerns about its solvency.

The regulator said Wednesday's decision was based on information provided by the administrators and it had also consulted the UK's Financial Services Authority.

The statement from the regulator indicated that there had been improvements in the company's underwriting model and "significant" strengthening of its pricing structure.

The company was prevented from writing new business in the UK last month after the regulator expressed concerns about the financial position of the company, particularly in relation to its solvency.

The regulator had the business placed in administration to protect Quinn's customers.

Most of the UK business is processed in Quinn's Fermanagh operation and the ban had put hundreds of jobs at risk.

Workers across Ireland protested over the decision. The company said the insurance business was losing 1.5m euros a day as a result of the suspension.

The Quinn Group last week withdrew its opposition to the appointment of permanent administrators to the insurer.

The regulator and the insurer said the move was in the best interests of 1.3 million policyholders.

Speaking on Wednesday Quinn spokesperson Mona Bermingham said the move was welcomed as an initial step.

"Employees hope this step is an indication that further segments of UK and NI business will be able to continue.

"In this sense we welcome the news, but the lift of the ban only on provisional licence holders simply does not go far enough," she said.

"We hope the financial regulator continues to work closely with the administrator to look at all aspects of the profitable segments of the business to open up further trading."

In a statement, Quinn Insurance Ltd said that the company was happy to recommence insurance.

"While this is a limited re-entry to the UK market it is an important development for QIL as it has been a core part of the business for the past 5 years.

"The company's business model of efficient operations, pro-active claims approach and a targeted approach to selective customer segments offers the opportunity of sustainable profitability."

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