The country's second biggest health insurance company, Quinn Healthcare, has been sold.

In a statement, it was confirmed that a bid by senior management, backed by global insurer Swiss Re, had been successful.

The company said the deal secures the current employment of 334 people in Cork and reinforces competition in the market.

The company has almost 500,000 subscribers. The deal was announced to staff at a meeting this morning.

A new brand name will be launched over the coming months, but the company stressed there would be no change to the terms and conditions of customers' cover.

Managing Director of Quinn Healthcare Dónal Clancy said: "This is great news for our members and the Quinn Healthcare team alike."

Mr Clancy later told RTÉ's News at One that the company had a bright future and would work to keep costs down to ensure that there would be no further increases in premiums for customers.

Swiss Re's Bruce Hodkinson said: "With our global stature and experience in life and health insurance we see this as an excellent fit with our business."

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has welcomed the sale of Quinn Healthcare for the certainty that it will bring to the health insurance market.

Dr Reilly said it would also bring certainty to Quinn customers and said it was his intention to reform the private health insurance market.