A MAJOR INSURANCE firm with thousands of customers across Europe has been barred from issuing new policies by the Irish Central Bank.
The regulator said in a statement issued today that it has instructed CBL Insurance Europe to “cease writing business with immediate effect, until further notice”.
The Central Bank did not give detail as to why it took this decision. It said that it is working through “a number of supervisory issues” with CBL.
“Until such time as these are resolved to the satisfaction of the Central Bank, CBL has been directed to cease writing new business,” it said.
The firm sanctioned by the Central Bank is the European arm of CBL Insurance. Dublin-based CBL Insurance Europe sells policies across the continent, mainly construction and household policies.
Many of its policies are sold through third parties, such as insurance brokers. The business has about 12,500 customers throughout Europe, with the majority of those based in Italy, France and the UK.
CBL Europe’s parent company, CBL Corporation, is traded on the stock exchange in New Zealand.
There, the New Zealand authorities have suspended CBL Corporation’s shares from trading and stated that the market doesn’t have all of the information that it needs.
This occurred after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised concerns about the company’s reserves in its French construction insurance business.
France is the company’s biggest market, accounting for more than half of the €146 million worth of premiums in 2016.
The Sunday Times recently reported that it is believed that all of this business is underwritten from Dublin.
The Central Bank said that CBL Europe “continues to operate and existing policies continue to remain in force”.
It said that any of the company’s existing customers who have concerns about their policy should contact the CBL Europe directly, or their broker if the policy was bought through a third party.
CBL Insurance Europe recorded a profit of €1.8 million in the year to the end of 2016, up from €1 million in 2015.
The company’s most recent accounts show that there were three people directly employed by CBL Europe during 2016. The company paid its three workers a combined €348,000 during the year.