I thank the Ceann Comhairle for choosing this question for the Topical Issue debate. I have a real sense of déjà vu. Here we are with another insurance firm, which is principally regulated in another EU member state, failing with very significant consequences for policyholders, claimants and, ultimately, Irish insurance consumers. Qudos Insurance was regulated prudentially in Denmark and sold business in Ireland under the freedom of services provisions of EU law. It had approximately 50,000 policyholders, primarily motor insurance, much of it commercial vehicles and vans, and also some home insurance. Information I have received in response to a parliamentary question is that early indications suggest around 1,400 claims remain outstanding. This is similar in scale to Setanta Insurance, and is now the fourth foreign-regulated insurance company to collapse in recent years. Setanta Insurance was regulated in Malta, Alpha Insurance was regulated in Denmark, Enterprise Insurance in Gibraltar, and now Qudos, also regulated in Denmark.
Several issues require resolution. First, given that we are approaching the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Setanta Insurance and hundreds of claims are yet to be paid, I sincerely hope we are not looking at a similar time frame for those affected by the collapse of Qudos Insurance. Some policyholders have spoken in the media and their stories are quite striking. In some cases, people are in a bad way with repairs to their homes and with significant and serious crashes involving people insured by Qudos.
What reassurance can the Minister of State offer claimants that they will have their claims dealt with quickly? That is the first priority. Then there is the question of who ultimately pays this bill. Will it be Denmark or Ireland? As a result of a change of the law in Denmark in May 2018, it appears that if the company moves from solvent liquidation to bankruptcy after 1 January 2019, the Danish insurance guarantee scheme will not be picking up the bill. In that case it will rest with the Irish insurance compensation fund. That has a number of implications. First, claimants who do not have a third-party motor insurance claim will not get all of their money because there is a cap of 65% for payouts from the insurance compensation fund here. This would also mean another draw on a fund that is already significantly overdrawn and will remain so well beyond the next decade because of the bills for Quinn Insurance and Setanta Insurance as well as many other issues.
I am very curious as to how this change in the law in Denmark came about and the fact that the company is now in solvent liquidation. Who is in control of the decision on when or whether that company moves into bankruptcy? It has very major implications for Irish policyholders and indeed for all Irish insurance consumers. Will the Minister of State reassure the House that from the point of view of the Department of Finance and the Central Bank, the manner in which this issue is being handled by the Danish authorities is above board? I am not accusing them of pulling a fast one, but I want the Minister of State to reassure us that the process under way there is transparent, independent and is being conducted above board. I look forward to the Minister of State's response.