Setanta Insurance was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.
The Deputy will be aware that under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, monies may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF), with the approval of the High Court, in relation to an insolvent insurer, to meet claims up to a limit of 65% or €825,000 of the claim, whichever is the lesser.
The Deputy will also be aware of my decision in principle that the State will ensure that Setanta third party claimants are compensated in full, which was announced on 30 January. My Department has subsequently received confirmation from the Office of the Attorney General that there are no state-aid or other legal issues with this decision, and therefore an additional provision to give effect to it has been included in the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, which has now been finalised in liaison with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
I obtained Government approval last week to proceed with publication of this Bill and my officials are working with the Bills Office to ensure the Bill is published without delay. I am hoping that, with the cooperation of Members of the House, the Bill will pass all Stages in an efficient manner.
Once enacted, it will allow for the payment of 100% of the compensation due to Setanta third party personal injury motor insurance claimants including the additional 35% to those who have settled their claims and have already received compensation of 65% of their claim. The same principle of full payment will apply to third party property motor insurance claimants subject to a limit of €1.22m (in line with Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland limits).
It is however important to note that only claims which have been settled can be included in applications to the High Court for payment from the ICF. The process of settling claims is still ongoing and is subject in some cases to complex negotiations between all relevant parties. It is hoped that by the State taking steps to ensure that third party claimants are compensated in full, this will continue to encourage the settlement of all outstanding claims as quickly as possible.