Liquidators after Independent’s assets

‘We will pursue all action to recover assets where it is economically viable,’ said Dan Schwarzmann of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Insurance Restructuring Practice.

And this could include action against auditors KPMG which signed off Independent’s 2000 accounts. Schwarzmann and colleague Mark Batten said theyhave sent a letter to KPMG asking about the Big Five rival’s links withIndependent.

Schwarzmann said, however, it was the ‘wrong stage at which to point the finger’. The liquidators are instead busy assessing what assets remain of the collapsed insurer.

Independent entered voluntary liquidation on Monday following the decision to suspend its shares and the resignation of former chief executive Michael Bright the previous week.

Speculation mounted over the state of the company after external actuaries from Watson Wyatt found large claims had not been entered into the insurer’s accounting system.

Batten and Schwarzmann refused to be drawn on the size of Independent’s assets at present saying they were busy calculating what was left.

They did say, however, that given Independent’s cash position, it would have run out of money within a few months if it had remained in business. In December last year Independent was valued at nearly £1bn.

The SFO is now investigating how a company, which was once a City favourite, could collapse in such spectacular fashion.

Meanwhile, Schwarzmann and Batten were last night trying to finalise a deal to bale out many of Independent’s policy holders by moving 450,000 policies to insurance giant Royal & Sun Alliance. The RSA deal would allow council tenants insured through local authority schemes a seamless transition out of Independent.


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