Quinn Insurance administrators invoice for €2.1m

Grant Thornton Ireland seeks €1.6m for period October 2015 to December 2016

The joint administrators of Quinn Insurance invoiced some €2.14 million in professional fees, including legal fees, for the period between October 2015 and December 2016, the High Court has been told.

When the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, received the administrators’ latest report on Tuesday, their 19th since being appointed in 2010, he was told sanction for the fees was not being sought as they accorded with rates previously approved by the court.

The fees include €470,098 invoiced by two joint administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann — both of Grant Thornton Ireland (GTI) — and for three GTI staff for the period between October 2015 and December 2016.

GTI itself, which provides tax, company secretarial, forensics and transaction support to the administration, sought some €1.67million fees for the same period.


That includes €888,217 fees for two law firms acting for the administrators, including preparing for the QI action against its former auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). The fees for that case are expected to rise over the coming years, the report stated.

Total fees

The total fees for the period between October 2015 and December 2016 are some €2.14 million, including VAT and based on rates including €375 per hour for a GTI partner, €290 for a director, €265 for a senior manager, €165 for a manager, €110 for assistant manager and €65 for senior staff .

The fees were based on when invoices were issued, rather than the period in which work was undertaken, the administrators said.

The judge was also told, while the administration has almost concluded, a significant outstanding item is litigation, initiated by the administrators in 2012 but unlikely to be heard before 2019 or 2020, claiming some €800 million against PWC.

PWC estimates it will incur more than €30 million in legal costs defending the case and the administrators are also expected to incur multimillion in costs.

PWC has queried QI’s ability to pay costs should PWC successfully defend the case and its application seeking security for that €30 million sum will come before the court in July.

On Tuesday, Mr Justice Kelly advised the administrators to explore alternative means of resolving the dispute other than “very expensive” litigation not likely to be heard for years and to be lengthy.

Dispute resolution

When counsel for the administrators said ADR (alternative dispute resolution) was being considered but preliminary matters needed to be addressed first, the judge suggested ADR be explored prior to embarking on “very expensive” discovery of some 40 million documents.

Addressing other matters in the report, counsel for the administrators said they remain of the view the ultimate cost to the State of the administration is some €1.1 billion which did not take account of any potential recovery from PWC arising from the litigation.

The case against PWC arises from QI being placed in administration in June 2010 and the fact some €1.1 billion has been drawn down from the State's Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) to meet the deficit between the firm's assets and liabilities. PWC, which was auditor of QI for the years ending 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, denies claims of breach of contract and breach of duty in its auditing.

The judge noted the contents of the 19th report and also granted the administrators application to amend the name of Quinn Insurance Ltd to Quinn Insurance Designated Activity Company.