Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has expressed concern for nearly 1,600 homeowners who seem to have been completely left in the lurch after the failure of Alpha Insurance.

Commenting Deputy McGrath said “Alpha Insurance, which was prudentially regulated in Denmark, went into bankruptcy earlier this year and it has been revealed that nearly 12,000 customers were impacted. While many of these customers have been able to switch to alternative insurance providers, there is a cohort of homeowners who appear to be stuck without any insurance cover at all.

“This specific issue surrounds latent defect or structural warranty insurance which is typically taken out by the developer and protects the homeowner if major structural issues with the property emerge. However, due to the failure of Alpha insurance, it seems that some 1,600 homeowners have been left with no cover and critically, there does not appear to be any recourse or alternative available to them. It is my understanding that homeowners are unable to take out replacement insurance themselves for homes that have been already constructed.

“This threatens to leave impacted homeowners completely exposed if serious structural issues with their house emerge. In addition, the lack of such cover can restrict homeowners in selling their house. This issue therefore has the potential to be very disruptive for many homeowners. It is unclear at this point how many of these 1,600 homeowners have received alternative cover.

“The response from the Minister to my questions in relation to this issue does not fill me with confidence and offers little by way of real solutions for these homeowners.

“I call on the Minister and the Central Bank to clarify this situation. It is important that homeowners are made aware of their rights in this regard. I encourage any homeowner who had structural insurance with Alpha insurance to contact the developer who built their house and to ensure that alternative cover has been arranged.

“This is yet another example of a breakdown in regulation in the European insurance market. Only last week another Danish regulated insurance company, Qudos, went into liquidation and we are still coming to terms with the failures of Enterprise and Setanta. Undoubtedly major reform is needed at a European level to protect customers and claimants when insurance companies fail”, concluded McGrath.