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What really happened at Quinn Insurance?

You’ll be familiar with the recent Financial Regulator decision to fine Quinn Insurance €3.25m and Sean Quinn personally the amount of €200,000.

In a very unexpected move, Quinn Insurance and Sean Quinn himself meekly rolled over and accepted their punishment with the fines being accepted, and Quinn resigning from the board of his own company.

Which has me very confused since the most explicit information I can find regarding what the wrongdoing actually was doesn’t get any more detailed than:

The regulator said it had “reasonable cause to suspect that breaches of regulatory requirements occurred in relation to Quinn Insurance”.

Only reasonable cause? No proof? Quinn Insurance and Sean Quinn accept a fine of €3.45m on the basis of merely a suspicion?

Why?

Particularly given past activities and challenges made by Quinn Direct Insurance in the face of a decision of the Financial Services Obudsman in April 2005. In that case, the Ombudsman directed (wrongly as it turned out) Quinn Direct to refund to all impacted customers a €25 administration charge levied by the company though they hadn’t informed clients that they would be liable for such a charge if they transferred a policy from one car to another.

I don’t know if the financial impact of this decision would have been worth as much as €3.45m to Quinn Direct at the time, but their immediate reaction to that decision was to challenge the Financial Ombudsman and take them to the Commercial Court.

But not this time

I can only say that I’m puzzled as to why Quinn have accepted this recent Financial Regulator decision without a whimper. Accepting this punishment seems to have called off the hounds with respects to the Financial Regulator, but it seems that the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement could still be involved.

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