Decade-long Quinn Insurance court case against PwC settled

A settlement has been reached in an action taken by the insolvent Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL) against accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Commercial Court heard.

he court heard yesterday that the case, which began in 2012, had been fully resolved.

No details of the settlement were announced to the court.

The joint administrators of QIL sued PwC for €900m claiming negligent auditing of the insurance underwriter between 2005 and 2008.

PwC denies the claims.

QIL had an underwriting business of €1bn and its losses were met by a 2pc levy on all non-life insurance policies in the State.

Its action, which arose from it being placed in administration in June 2010, was one of the largest damages claims in the history of the State.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald, who heads the Commercial Court list, congratulated the lawyers for finding a resolution in the “complex, lengthy and difficult” proceedings.

The costs to those involved, were the case to proceed, would have been “absolutely phenomenal”, he said, while they also would have consumed a significant amount of court time.

Declan McGrath SC, for QIL, asked that the parties would have liberty to mention the matter after the settlement has been implemented. The court heard PwC was consenting to the agreement.

The judge made an order vacating a discovery hearing that had been scheduled for next month and adjourned the case generally.

He gave liberty for it to be mentioned following implementation of the agreement.

A key feature of the pre-trial process was whether QIL’s joint administrators, Michael McAteer and Paul McCann, who were appointed by the Financial Regulator in April 2010, should be required to provide security of PwC’s legal costs, which would be used in the event QIL lost the case.

In June 2021 the Supreme Court ruled QIL would have to pay security for the multimillion euro PwC legal fees for defending the action.

Last December the Commercial Court was told the parties had agreed the total sum for cost security should be just over €29.5m.

In its case against PwC, QIL had alleged a breach of contract and duty, as well as negligence.

PwC denied the claims and contended it had no liability.

The professional services firm argued that QIL had failed to provide it with complete and truthful information.

It also claimed that any losses incurred by the failed insurer were due to its continued trading and decisions taken by the underwriting firm and/or the actions of the administrators.

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