Quinn-Direct's half-year profits increase 38% to €123m


Half-year profits at insurer Quinn-Direct grew 38 per cent to €123 million in the six months ended June 30th, the company said yesterday.

But the firm warned yesterday that one of the key Government measures designed to stem spiralling insurance costs in the Republic had only a limited impact on its business.

In a statement, Quinn said that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), established by the Government to circumvent costly litigation in workplace and motor claims, only processed a small number of claims against the company.

"Of all the claims notified to Quinn-Direct since July 2004 that were finalised by either the PIAB or the normal legal process, 68 have been settled by PIAB whilst 1,142 were settled through the normal process," it said.

Quinn-Direct is part of the Seán Quinn-controlled Quinn Group, which has interests in cement, glass, plastics and radiators manufacturing as well as property and financial services.

The company's figures show that premium income for the first six months of 2006 grew 22 per cent to €386 million from €316 million during the same period last year. Full-year income for 2005 was €621 million.

Strong returns from both underwriting and investment combined to boost pretax profit for the first six months of 2006.

Underwriting earnings were €88 million, compared with €65 million during the same period last year and €119 million for the full year. The company said that its underwriting margins remained strong in the face of falling premium prices.

Investment returns for the period were €35 million, as against €24 million during the first half of 2005. Full-year investment gains in 2005 were €113 million.

The company said that it has 420,000 customers, and maintains that it is the third-biggest insurer in Ireland.

General manager Colin Morgan said that when it published its 2005 results earlier this year, it drew attention to the fact that the three biggest brokers in the Republic, Marsh, Coyle Hamilton and AON, did not offer its products.

"However, we are very encouraged by the fact that many of their clients have now approached Quinn-Direct either directly or through a supportive broker," he said.