Road to Reform - The Setanta Case

Driving in the dark

The case of Setanta Insurance

Setanta Insurance:

  • Setanta Insurance was a Maltese regulated entity who wrote primarily motor business in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Setanta became insolvent in 2014.

High Court ruling:

  • The High Court deemed the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) to be responsible for the liabilities of Setanta, estimated to be in excess of €90m. 
  • Under this ruling the cost would be borne by motor insurers operating in Ireland, and there would be an obvious impact on customer premiums. 
  • The ruling may directly impact Setanta Policyholders as well as those who have made a claim against a Setanta policyholder, as follows:
    • Any Setanta policyholder against whom a claim has been made will now potentially be liable for that claims cost, as MIBI are, as it stands, legally obliged to attempt to recoup this cost from them. This effectively means that someone who has taken out insurance in good faith could potentially be chased up by the MIBI for the cost of claims paid out against their policy.
    • Persons injured or at a loss following an accident caused by a Setanta policyholder will have to meet a number of set conditions before MIBI will agree to compensate them, meaning there could be further delays in pay-outs or further court cases. Indeed, in some cases claimants will not be in a position to meet these conditions at all, leading to further uncertainty for innocent parties who have already been waiting for over 2 years for their awards.
  • The MIBI have appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, with a judgement due to be released in early 2017.

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