Insurance group to stop indemnifying UK solicitors


QUINN INSURANCE intends to stop providing professional indemnity cover to solicitors in England and Wales from next October.

The company, which the financial regulator placed in administration last April following breaches of solvency rules, cannot write new business in Britain at the moment.

It currently provides professional indemnity insurance to over 2,900 solicitors’ firms in England and Wales, which represents 10 per cent of the total market there.

However, the company issued a statement yesterday saying that it would not be re-entering the market when the policies come up for renewal on October 1st.

“Quinn Insurance Ltd believe it is in the best interests of its policy holders to advise them at this point that it will not be in a position to participate in the solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance market for the upcoming 2010-2011 renewal period,” the statement said.

Solicitors in England and Wales must have professional indemnity cover in order to practice.

The policies are brokered through a small number of big players, known as “binders” and a larger group of smaller operators, and are collectively renewed on October 1st.

It is understood that as the company is not sure when it will be allowed to begin writing new business in Britain again, it decided the best option was to exit the solicitors’ indemnity market for the time being.

The firm’s administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton, recently told the High Court that it was “business as usual” at Quinn Insurance.

They have hired merchant bank, Macquarie, to advise on selling the firm.

Europe’s biggest insurer, German-based Allianz, is one of a number of companies that are said to be interested in buying the Irish business, which was part of businessman Seán Quinn’s privately controlled group.