The Quinn Group has completed its takeover of BUPA Ireland's health insurance business, saying it will freeze prices for customers this year.

The said the new company would be known as Quinn Healthcare, and would develop a new office facility capable of holding up to 800 staff in Fermoy, Co Cork. This would meet the anticipated growth in its business.

The Quinn Group takeover secured the jobs of around 300 people who worked for BUPA in Fermoy.

Chairman Sean Quinn said his company was in the health insurance market for the long-term, but he called on the Government to end what he called the anti-competitive and dominant position of the VHI.

'We are determined to create a competitive health insurance market and will take whatever action is required to achieve this,' he added.

He said Quinn Group supported the concept of community rating, but described the current risk equalisation system - under which companies must compensate VHI for its older customer base - as 'unfair'.

A statement from VHI welcomed Quinn's entry, but said it was disappointed that it was 'repeating the tired and discredited BUPA mantra on risk equalisation'.