Western Pac woes widen

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Casualties of crashed Queenstown insurance company Western Pacific now include 2000 motorists.

Car owners with mechanical insurance through Auckland-based company Link Warranties have lost their cover after Link went into liquidation on April 11 – just 10 days after Western went bust.

Western owned 15 per cent of Link and underwrote the small insurer, which was set up two years ago.

Liquidator Chris Horton puts Link’s failure down to the knock-on effect of Western’s own liquidation on April 1.

“[Link] directors were unable to secure a replacement insurance underwriter,” Horton reports.

About 100 unsecured creditors owed $532,724 will probably get only 20 cents in the dollar, he predicts.

Western’s own 7000 policy holders – mostly small businesses – are now unsecured creditors because liquidators cancelled policies last week after failing to sell the business.

Western liquidator Simon Thorn warned Mountain Scene that insurance claims will total “many millions” – and claims won’t be paid in full because of reinsurance shortfall.

The defunct Western was controlled by prominent Queenstown businessman Graham Smolenski and his Australian brother-in-law Jeff McNally.