Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Equitable Insurance Company Limited.

12.

asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether it has been found possible to provide financial assistance to policy-holders who were compelled to pay insurance premiums twice in the one year in consequence of the failure of the Equitable Insurance Company Limited to meet its financial obligations.

The question of providing relief in cases of hardship arising out of the failure of this company is still under consideration and I am not in a position to furnish any further information at this stage.

Would the Minister bear in mind that a number of policy holders with this company now unable to bear its obligations are faced with quite serious claims before the courts? Could the Minister at this stage hold out any hope that either the State or an insurance company committee will come to the aid of these people and help to relieve them from the present serious burden which looks like falling on them?

I feel sure the Deputy appreciates this is a difficult problem, one that requires much consideration and, indeed, consultation with other bodies. I have the matter under very active consideration and I have full sympathy with the people who have suffered or are suffering in the manner he suggests.

Can we take it the Minister will do everything possible in the direction I suggest?

Might I inquire in the cases where judgments have been recovered whether it is reasonable to say that the enforcement of these judgments against individuals who would thereby be bankrupt or their businesses destroyed should be suspended pending a final decision in the general matter of dealing with the consequences of the insolvency of this company?

I agree this would be very desirable and I should like to see it achieved. May I say that in answering supplementary questions last week on this subject I said that on receipt of the accounts of this company which showed the company to be insolvent I immediately applied to the court for the appointment of an auditor to look into the affairs of the company? I should have said a liquidator, who in fact, was an auditor. The firm of auditors who were at that time acting for the company were appointed by the directors on 14th February, 1963, to fill a casual vacancy. It has been suggested by this company that my replies last week could imply that this firm was unsatisfactory and were removed by me on application to the High Court. I want to say now there was no such implication intended by me nor could it be justified in the circumstances.