Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has written to the Finance Committee requesting that the Financial Regulator and other relevant bodies be called in to discuss the closure of Setanta Insurance.
Deputy Doherty said information he has received from the Malta Financial Services Authority, which regulated Setanta Insurance, raises new questions about the Financial Regulator’s handling of the Setanta collapse.
Deputy Doherty said:
“The collapse of Setanta Insurance left 75,000 people in financial difficulty and many small businesses facing bills for non-existent insurance cover and another bill for a new policy. This process of dragging information out of the Central Bank and Minister Noonan is adding insult to injury to those policy holders.
“The Malta Financial Services Authority has confirmed to me that the first contact with the Regulator here took place in September 2013 ‘in relation to the solvency position of the company’ and that ‘Initial contact was made in September 2013 where the Central Bank of Ireland was provided with the financial statements of Setanta. It should be clarified that at that stage the company was still maintaining its legal solvency requirements.’
“Yesterday evening the Minister for Finance stated that the Regulator had indeed been in communication with Malta since September 2013. In a host of previous replies the Minister consistently said the Regulator began investigating the company in November 2013.
“Although the company was still solvent by the lower legal standards in Malta the financial statements would have shown them to be in trouble by Irish standards and indeed even by the regulatory standards in Malta.
“The Malta Financial Services Authority also confirmed to me that the company has been operating below its regulatory level since 2011. They also confirmed the company does not employ a single person in Malta.
“Clearly the government had concerns about Setanta in September 2013 but it waited months and months to do anything about. In the meantime thousands of policies which are now null and void where signed.
“I have therefore written to the Finance Committee requesting that the Financial Regulator any other relevant bodies be called in to discuss the Setanta case so that I and the other members can quiz him directly on what he knew and when.”