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Setanta Insurance Company Limited (In Liquidation)

The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) & Setanta Insurance Company Ltd (in liquidation)


Background


Setanta Insurance Company Ltd (in liquidation) ("Setanta") is a Maltese incorporated insurance company which sold insurance in Ireland. Setanta was placed into voluntary liquidation in Malta in April 2014 and the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.


The liquidator is currently working to value the total cost of outstanding claims and to ascertain the extent to which these claims can be met by the assets of Setanta. The liquidator has advised that this process must be completed and all of the company's liabilities (including claims) must be quantified before any settlements can be paid to claimants. While the process of quantifying claims is still ongoing, the liquidator has indicated that there will be a significant shortfall between available funds and the total value of claims.


For this reason, and given that it is not known when the liquidator will be in a position to make payments, it is intended to make advance applications to the Insurance Compensation Fund ("ICF") on behalf of eligible claimants. The eligibility of any particular claimant will be a matter for the liquidator to determine, in the first instance.

 

The Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF) & Setanta Insurance Company Ltd (In liquidation)

 

A legal issue has arisen that requires the Accountant of the Courts of Justice to initiate High Court proceedings to have the matter judicially determined. Until this matter is resolved no claims can be made on the Fund. The Accountant is currently working with his legal advisors and other interested parties to bring this matter before the High Court as soon as possible. At present, it is not possible to provide a date for this hearing.

 

The decision of the High Court will have a large bearing on how outstanding claims against Setanta will be handled. If it is determined by the courts that the Insurance Compensation Fund is liable to make payments in respect of Setanta policy holders, the process outlined below will apply.

 

What is the Insurance Compensation Fund?

 

The operation of the ICF is governed by the Insurance Act 1964, as amended by the Insurance (Amendment) Act 2011.

 

The ICF provides compensation to eligible claimants of (i) an Irish-authorised insurance company in liquidation; or (ii) an insurance company authorised in the European Union, which carries on business in Ireland, and which has gone into liquidation.

The ICF is maintained and administered under the control of the President of the High Court, acting through the Accountant of the Courts of Justice (the "Accountant"). Payments from the ICF must be approved by the President of the High Court following an application by the Accountant.


The following insurance claims are covered by the ICF:


a claim by an individual who is a policyholder of the insurer in liquidation; 


a claim by an individual against another individual who is a policyholder of the insurer in liquidation; 


a claim by an individual against a body corporate or unincorporated body of persons which is a policyholder of the insurer in liquidation; and 


a claim by a body corporate or unincorporated body of persons against an individual that is a policyholder of the insurer in liquidation.

 

The ICF does not cover the following type of claims:


claims by body corporates and unincorporated bodies which were policyholders of the insurer in liquidation, unless the liability underlying the claim is to an individual; or 


claims for refund of premiums by any policyholder (whether individual, body corporate or unincorporated body of persons) of the insurer in liquidation. 


If the principal sum owing under a policy of insurance was discharged by the insurer prior to liquidation but the costs and expenses element remains unpaid, it is not possible for the legal representative or other creditors of the claimant to apply to the ICF, in their own right, for payment of these costs and expenses. Payment of costs and expenses is not a stand-alone right and such payments are only made in conjunction with payment of the principal sum.


A maximum of 65% of the value of the claim, or €825,000, (whichever is less) can be recovered from the ICF.
The ICF will also pay a claimant’s costs and expenses provided they are necessarily and reasonably incurred. Therefore, to recover any costs and expenses incurred in endeavouring to secure payment of the amount of the claim, a claimant would have to demonstrate that these costs and expenses were necessary and not excessive.


Claims Process: Setanta

 

The ICF is under the control of the President of the High Court and he will order that payments be made from the ICF, if he is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so. Applications for payment from the ICF will be made by the Accountant, on behalf of eligible claimants. In the case of Setanta, only claims that have been certified by the liquidator will be brought forward to the High Court by the Accountant.


The Accountant will only make an application to the President of the High Court where he is satisfied that claims qualify under the provisions of the applicable legislation. To assess this, the Accountant will work closely with the liquidator of Setanta to identify eligible claimants. The Accountant has also engaged the services of the State Claims Agency ("SCA") to assist with validating claims before they are brought forward to the High Court. The SCA is a part of the National Treasury Management Agency and is responsible for managing claims made against the State. It is intended that the SCA will carry out due diligence work, on behalf of the Accountant, to ensure that all claims seeking payment from the ICF are in order for payment.


To make a claim against the ICF, it is a prerequisite that the claim is covered by an insurance policy, issued by Setanta, that was valid at the time the incident/accident giving rise to the claim occurred. Therefore, the incident/accident must have occurred prior to 26th May 2014, in respect of private vehicle policies and 29th May 2014 in respect of commercial vehicle policies, as it was on these dates that insurance policies issued by Setanta were cancelled by Setanta’s liquidator.

A claim can be based on:


o A court order;


o An injuries board order to pay


o A settlement agreement between the claimant and Setanta.


How to make a claim if you have not previously notified Setanta:


1. The first step is to notify Setanta’s liquidator of the claim. Setanta’s liquidator is tasked with the orderly liquidation of Setanta and is required to identify all liabilities of Setanta.

 

Contact details are as follows:

 

The Liquidator
Setanta Insurance Company Ltd (In Liquidation)
c/o Deloitte
Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2

Tel: 0818 255 255
Email: iesetanta@deloitte.ie

 

2. Once notified of a claim, Setanta’s Liquidator will proceed to validate whether the claim: 


- is covered by a valid insurance policy issued by Setanta, and


- is eligible to be paid from the ICF, under the legislation, and


- is finalised as a result of (i) a Court order; or (ii) an Injuries Board Order to Pay; or (iii) a settlement agreement being in place.


3. The liquidator will only present claims on the Fund to the Accountant that are: (i) eligible for payment out of the ICF; and (ii) have been validated by the SCA.


4. In accordance with the applicable legislation, the Accountant can only make an application to the ICF once every six months in respect of an insurer in liquidation. For this reason, it is proposed that multiple eligible claims will be batched together to optimise each application to the ICF. Insofar as possible, the criteria for inclusion of claims in each application will be based on the date that the claim was finalised and agreed by Setanta’s liquidator. For example, the first batch of claims to be brought forward to the High Court will include claims that were finalised (that is, claims which were settled or which have been determined by Court Order, and in which costs have been finalised) in and around the time that Setanta went into liquidation. Subsequent applications will then be processed in chronological order.


5. Due to the volume of possible claims and the time required to process these claims, it is inevitable that the Accountant will need to make multiple applications to the High Court, over a number of years, before all claims will be satisfactorily dealt with.


Please direct all queries in relation to the status of your claim to Setanta’s liquidator at Tel: 0818 255 255.

First Application:


The Accountant, the SCA and Setanta’s liquidator are working together to finalise a batch of claims for inclusion in the first application to the High Court. At present, we are hopeful that this application will be made in the first quarter of 2015, with payments issuing to claimants soon after, assuming that the President of the High Court approves the application.


The Liquidator will be in a position to pay a further amount to claimants from the assets in the liquidation in addition to what is paid from the Fund. The amount and timing of such further payment will only be known when all of the claims have been processed.

 

Notice to Policyholders

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of Setanta Insurance Company Limited (the ''Company'') held on 16th April 2014 it was resolved that the Company surrender its insurance business licence to the Malta Financial Services Authority and be immediately dissolved. Furthermore at a meeting of creditors of the Company held on 30th April 2014 I was appointed as liquidator of the Company.

 

Take notice that all policies of insurance issued by or on behalf of the Company have now been cancelled. All private vehicle insurance policies issued by the Company which remained active on 26th May 2014 were cancelled with immediate effect on that date. In addition all commercial vehicle Insurance policies issued by the Company which remained active on 29th May 2014 were cancelled with immediate effect on that date. Notices of cancellation were issued on 19th May and all policies were cancelled in accordance with the applicable policy documents.

 

I believe this to be in the best interest of policyholders as it avoids a situation where consumers continue to drive vehicles insured by the Company in circumstances where their claims would be unlikely to be paid in full.

 

I would urge policyholders who have not yet done so to make alternative insurance arrangements without delay. All no claims discount certificates have now been sent to brokers.

 

This notice supercedes all previous Company and third party communications.

 

Please see Frequently Asked Question below.

     

Policyholders and brokers should continue to send correspondence on individual Claims or other claims matters to the Company at:

 

Deloitte & Touche

Earlsfort Terrace

Dublin 2

Tel: 0818 255 255

Email: iesetanta@deloitte.ie

 

     

Paul Mercieca,

Liquidator

Setanta Insurance Company Limited (in liquidation)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

 

1. As a former policyholder, do I need to take any action now that the company is in liquidation?

 

As all Setanta Insurance policies have now been cancelled, you should ensure you have arranged alternative cover with your broker immediately. Your Setanta Insurance disc and Certificate should be returned to your broker.

 

The Liquidator of Setanta Insurance wrote to all policyholders on 19th May informing them of his intention to cancel all motor policies issued by Setanta Insurance in accordance with the cancellation periods set out in the terms and conditions of policies.

 

All remaining private vehicle insurance policies were cancelled by the liquidator on 26th May and all Commercial vehicle policies were cancelled on 29th May.

 

2. Will I receive a refund for the outstanding cover on my policy?

 

Irrespective of whether the cancellation is made by Setanta Insurance or the policyholder, Setanta Insurance is not in a position to guarantee pro rata return of premiums.

 

3. Where can I get a copy of my no claims bonus certificate?

 

All no claim bonus certificates have now been sent to brokers.

 

4. Will my claim be covered by the Insurance Compensation fund?

 

The Irish Insurance Compensation fund is provided for under the Insurance Act 1964. The Insurance Act 1964 makes provision for the payment of claims of Irish policyholders of insurance companies authorised in Ireland or in any other EEA member states that are in liquidation. The fund is operated by the High Court and payment of any compensation is a decision of the High Court.

 

In the case of liquidation, the Irish Insurance Compensation Fund is limited to 65% of the value of a claim in respect of a risk in the State, up to a maximum of €825,000. A sum due to a commercial policyholder may not be paid from the Fund unless the sum is due in respect of a liability to an individual. Further information on the Insurance Compensation fund is available on the website of the Central Bank.ie

 

5. How do I make a claim?


Please complete the relevant claim form and return to the address above.