I propose to answer Questions Nos. 55 and 57 together.
The Insurance (No. 2) Act, 1983, provides that an administrator appointed to an insurer shall have all the powers (including the power to sell the real and personal property and things in action of the insurer concerned) that he would have if he were a liquidator appointed by the court in respect of the insurer. To further clarify the matter, a section is included in the Insurance Bill, 1987, to declare explicitly that an administrator has the power to sell all or any part of the business of the insurer concerned.
In so far as the position of the PMPS depositors is concerned, the matter is nowsub judice as the liquidator of the PMPS has initiated legal proceedings against the administrator of the PMPA with a view to having the insurance company's assets made available to the creditors of the society. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the matter.
With regard to the PMPA's positionvis-à-vis the statutory financial requirements, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Parliamentary Question No. 41 of 28 January 1986. The published accounts and statutory returns to my Department, as certified by both the company's directors and auditors, showed that the liabilities of the PMPA did not at any stage exceed the value of its assets and that the company at all times met the statutory requirements for an insurance company. There was no evidence to the contrary until the result of a specially commissioned consultancy study was received in August 1983 and confirmed by a second expert opinion received in October 1983. This was followed immediately by the appointment of an administrator to the company.
A detailed investigation by the administrator into all the records of the company resulted,inter alia, in an adjustment of £146 million to the outstanding claims provision and the disclosure of a net asset deficiency at 31 December 1982 in the statutory returns furnished by the administrator for the year 1983.