At Quinn Insurance, no new owner till Christmas

Legwork via the Irish Independent:

THE ownership of Quinn Insurance is likely to take several months to resolve with administrators aiming to offload the stricken insurer “before Christmas”, sources confirmed last night.

The news came as Anglo Irish Bank confirmed it had lodged an “expression of interest” in acquiring the insurer ahead of [Friday’s] 5.30pm deadline.

This is taking way too long. As I mentioned the other day, in the States this would be over in a week. A property/casualty company doesn’t have a lot of fixed assets, like factories, or intellectual assets, like patents. Any value greater than the bonds and stocks it holds comes from relationships with customers and agents, and those deteriorate quickly under circumstances like these.

Insurance is a guarantee of financial security. Who wants a one-year guarantee from a company with dodgy finances whose new ownership won’t be known for another three months? Once those customers are gone, it will be years before you’ll have another chance at them.

A political note: All of the rumored bidders, save one, are keeping mum, citing confidentiality agreements. That one, Anglo Irish Bank, is the only non-insurer, which I would think should make one reticent.

My Chicago-bred Spidey-sense tingles.

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