Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (133)

Jack Chambers


133. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 82 of 28 February 2018, the status of efforts to ensure third-party claimants of a company are compensated in full; the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39336/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Setanta Insurance ("Setanta") 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.

I am very conscious of the effect of the delays in the payment of compensation to Setanta claimants, and this is one of the reasons why we brought forward the Insurance (Amendment) Act last year to ensure that Setanta third party claimants are compensated in full, and to put in place revised arrangements for the ongoing management and administration of the Insurance Compensation Fund, including for applications to the High Court.  However as previously outlined neither I nor the Department of Finance have any role in the process including the making of applications to the High Court or payments.

To date, 796 personal injury claimants have been compensated in full by the Compensation Fund. There are a further 297 personal injury claimants who have yet to settle their claims. I have been informed by the State Claims Agency that a further 92 personal injury claims settlements have now been agreed and are included in the current submission to the Fund. This brings the total number of personal injury claimants who have agreed settlements to 888.  In addition to the settled cases submitted to the Fund there have also been 21 cases where the claims were either dismissed or withdrawn and consequently there will be no draw on the Fund in respect of these claimants. The latest information from the liquidator indicates that the total value of all payments (settlements, legal costs, etc.) in the next tranche will be approximately €6.9 million.

Regarding when the next payments will be made, the Deputy will note that in accordance with the relevant legislation, there are certain steps to be completed in preparing any application to the High Court for payment from the ICF. These steps include the assessment and verification of each individual claim within the application by the State Claims Agency.  The Agency has advised my officials that the next application for a call on the fund for Setanta claims will likely be in the 2nd half of October 2019.

In relation Deputy Chamber’s request for an update on a particular case, my officials have checked this matter with the State Claims Agency and they have indicated that there is no claim outstanding, but that there is a refund of premiums due. They indicated that while  the refund of premiums for commercial and personal insurance policies is not covered by the Insurance Compensation fund, there is a possibility that a portion of any such refund due, may be met from the proceeds of the distribution of Setanta's Insurance assets on completion of the liquidation process.

Finally, the Liquidator continues to make every effort to settle these claims on the best possible terms, however, each and every one of these claimants are in the litigation process and consequently it is difficult to predict exactly when all of these claimants will settle. This in turn means it is not possible to say at this stage when it will be known whether there will be any money available to make any refund of premiums.  Consequently, any individual (or their solicitor) who has queries about either an outstanding claim or a refund of premiums  should contact the liquidator via phone at +353 (0)818 255 255 or via email at iesetanta@deloitte.ie.