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IBA Press release on Setanta Insurance- 25th April 2014


IBA President, John Bissett, has made a statement to the media on Setanta Insurance and we feel that you should be made immediately aware of it. 

Please see statement below


IBA slams overly lax European Regulatory System which allows Insurance Companies select softest set of rules IBA calls for access to Insurance Compensation Fund to cover unpaid claims


In a statement from the Irish Brokers Association today, John Bissett, President of the Irish Brokers Association;

  • "The European regulatory system needs a radical overhaul. The system in its current state allows insurance companies, which are primarily owned by Irish people and principally based in Ireland, to sell exclusively to Irish customers - but to be regulated in a different jurisdiction. The Setanta debacle is a clear example of how this regulatory structure is not appropriate and is not protecting Irish consumers. Insurance entities operating in Ireland, selling to Irish consumers should be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
  •  The IBA expects the Central Bank to put urgent pressure on Malta's Financial Services Authority to ensure that the Irish taxpayer does not have to pick up the bill. We (the IBA) are also calling on the Malta appointed liquidator to apply to the Irish High Court to ensure that policyholders can access the Insurance Compensation Fund.
  •  The Irish Government needs to play their part in ensuring that compensation is available to those consumers impacted by the sudden liquidation of Setanta Insurance. In an era of heightened regulation, Irish consumers need to know that they are protected regardless of where that entity is regulated.
  • Setanta Insurances' Directors and the European and Maltese regulatory authorities need to account for their actions which have put innocent Irish policy holders in this position - they need to provide an explanation as to how this occurred.
  • Responsibility for the regulation and for the solvency of insurance companies lies with the Regulators who have unfettered access to the inner financial workings of those companies and who maintain regular close contact with those companies and who also audit them. Brokers do not have access to this information so are not in a position to identify which companies may have solvency issues and must therefore rely on Regulators to do this. In the case of Setanta Insurance, this function was solely the responsibility of the Malta Financial Regulator.
  •  Malta Financial Services Authority's communication on the 27th January following the closure of Setanta to new business specifically referenced the issue of Setanta's ability to pay claims. The communication stated that Setanta Insurance "had advised the Malta Financial Services Authority that it is business as usual in terms of payment of claims". It seems incredulous that the Malta Regulator would simply accept the assurances of Setanta in a situation such as this. A full investigation is now required to understand what happen and to ensure that a similar situation doesn't arise again in the future.
  • The IBA represents 450 brokers in the towns and villages across Ireland and these brokers are at the coalface dealing with very concerned and worried customers. Brokers and their customers are now under extreme pressure as a result of Setanta's announcement and the Irish Brokers Association will endeavour to help them in any way we can. We firmly believe that neither brokers nor consumers should carry the losses from this liquidation.
  •   We would view it as a stronger position for Irish consumers if all insurance companies selling service to Irish consumers were prudentially regulated in this jurisdiction and subject to the Central Bank's well-regarded robust supervision and monitoring. " 



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