Court approves €3.29m payment from State fund for Setanta claims

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A further payment of €3.29 million out of the State’s Insurance Compensation Fund concerning personal injury claims against collapsed Maltese-registered motor insurer Setanta has been approved by the High Court.

The sum includes a sum of €1.97 million for third party legal costs. The remainder comprises some €1.06 million in awards, orders to pay and agreement settlements; some €224,000 in minor court awards and some €35,581 in property damage.

Approval was sought on Monday by John Walker SC, for the State Claims Agency, to meet the cost of 129 third party claims against the insurer. An audit by the agency had deemed those claims to be supported by claims documents and eligible for payment from the fund.

Eighth payment

The president of the High Court, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, approved the payment, the eighth such payment out of the fund since 2016.

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Last year, the court approved an €8.35 million payment out, including €3.14 million for legal costs concerning 161 personal injury claims. Those legal cost were a combinaiton of costs relatign to claims pre-liquidation and costs taxed or agreed pre-liquidation for agreed claims.

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Setanta, incorporated in Malta, carried on business here from 2007 and had 75,000 policyholders here when it collapsed in 2014. Paul Mercicea was appointed liquidator.

State fund

Setanta made a total of €7.2 million contributions to the ICF from 2007. As a result of a Supreme Court decision in 2017 that the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland was not liable for certain of the Setanta claims, those are to be dealt with by way of access to the ICF. At the time of the seventh payment in June 2020, the court was told the fund then had a balance of some €80.2 million.

The fund will meet some 65 per cent of each first party claim when settled or ruled but no such cap applies to third party claims. Setanta will also make certain payments once the final position of the assets in the liquidation is known.

Mr Mercicea previously said in an affidavit that the equivalent compensation scheme in Malta (to the fund) is not available to address claims against Setanta policies. There are insufficient funds in the liquidation to pay all creditors in full, and he believed, on current information, Setanta will be able to meet less than 22% of the claims.

Source: Business News