Sean Quinn: founder of the Quinn Group, which owns hotels and golf resorts

Quinn Insurance told some of its claims managers to offer vouchers for Quinn hotels, golf facilities and insurance discounts to facilitate a cost-effective settlement of claims.

The company wrote to remote claims managers earlier this year suggesting they use the vouchers as a "negotiation tool" to help "bridge the gap" between claim amounts and settlement amounts.

Payment incentive structures for claims managers in the insurance industry often provide higher pay for managers who keep claims payouts to a minimum, thus costing the business less.

Media spokespeople for the Quinn Group were contacted last week and asked whether giving vouchers for hotels and golf courses was permitted. "Any services provided to Quinn Insurance or its customers by other Quinn Group companies are fully imbursed by Quinn Insurance," said a statement. No further comment was provided.

The Financial Regulator's consumer protection code says all claims must be paid within 10 days of settlement. However, from a regulatory perspective, an insurer has discharged its responsibility to the claimant once it has no remaining liability, as would be the case once a customer endorses the claim form.

It is also understood any payments made by an insurance firm to another company within the group would be visible to the financial regulator.