Liberty Insurance to cut one job in five
One in five jobs is to be cut by Liberty Insurance in Cavan, Dublin and Enniskillen in what the US insurer described yesterday as a move to position it for “sustainable profitability”.
This will involve 285 of the company’s 1,450 staff leaving the business by the end of March 2013. Liberty said it hopes the job cuts will be via voluntary redundancies and has begun a 30-day consultation period with employee representatives.
It is expected 140 staff will be made redundant in Dublin, 75 in Cavan and 70 in Enniskillen. Just under 500 staff work in each location.
Liberty, which took over the Quinn Insurance business in November 2011, also announced it has exercised its option to acquire the rights to the policies written by Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) in Northern Ireland and Britain. These are being acquired from the administrators of QIL, which was founded by bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn.
Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, Patrick O’Brien, chief executive of Liberty in Ireland, said it was a “disappointing day” for the company.
He said about 700 of the company’s staff were working on the British and Northern Irish business on behalf of the administrator.
This business is now generating about €100 million in premiums, compared with €400 million at peak. Much of that was loss-making.
Mr O’Brien said the job cuts reflected the lower level of business likely to be conducted in the UK by Liberty.
He said elements of its commercial book in the Republic had also been tougher than originally envisaged.
“We expect to make a small loss this year,” he said. “That’s primarily linked to some issues we have had on the commercial side but it’s only a small variance of what we had projected.”
Its premiums from the Republic this year will be flat at about €200 million, he said.