Pubs hit by Gable going to administration

A number of pubs and shops in Ireland are likely to be potential victims of Gable Insurance’s being put into administration by the Financial Market Authority of Liechtenstein which has appointed PwC in Zurich as special administrator to the troubled insurer.

And PwC has now informed the Lichtenstein FMA that it believes it has good cause to suspect the over-indebtedness of Gable Insurance AG and has stopped making payments to brokers and policy-holders “in order to ensure that no policy-holder is preferred to the detriment of other policy holders”.

PwC has also called for an extraordinary shareholders meeting of Gable on 11th November to give the shareholder of Gable, Gable Holdings Inc, a final opportunity to provide the capital required to avoid the initiation of winding-up proceedings.

According to a report in The Sunday Times recently, up to 1,000 Irish businesses, including pubs and shops, have been left in limbo about their insurance cover after the UK-owned insurance provider operating throughout Europe from a base in Liechtenstein was put into administration by Liechtenstein’s financial watchdogs who told the company to stop writing new business in September.

Gable Insurance’s shares were suspended from trading on the London AIM stock exchange last July.

On 31st October PwC notified the Liechtenstein Court of Gable’s over-indebtedness and asked the Court to postpone the commencement of winding-up proceedings at least until the date of the extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Gable sold insurance through “a network of brokers here in Ireland to businesses that had difficulty getting insurance from local providers” according to The Sunday Times.

The EU’s “passporting” arrangements allowing financial services providers to sell insurance across borders from a single base in Europe, but without any oversight from local regulators such as the Central Bank, has led to the latest headache for policy holders here who’ve been caught out once again following the Malta-based Setanta debacle early in 2014 and the Gibraltar-based Enterprise Insurance company which collapsed in July. As a result, the dangers of utilising an insurance company located in just one place in the EU are likely to be again raised.

“We’re aware that there are a number of pubs who were insured with Gable through various brokers here and the UK,” VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben told Drinks Industry Ireland, “They are now left in a very difficult position of having premiums paid and unsure of whether they have any real cover or not.

“There are simply too many of these types of occurrences and the relevant regulatory authority needs to take a firm grip on putting controls in place to ensure only reliable insurers have access to the market,” he concluded.

The Central Bank will provide further updates as they become available.

Further information is available from the FMA Liechtenstein.


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