HIH Insurance liquidator Tony McGrath has kicked off a $1 billion money chase by targeting parties closely associated with the failed insurer and offering them the opportunity to pay up or be taken to court.

His proposed actions are aimed at associated parties, auditors, actuaries, reinsurers, directors and advisers. Mr McGrath would not name them ahead of legal claims being drawn up but said the parties knew who they were. There are about eight separate targets, with some former directors of HIH counted as one party.

However, the focus of his inquiries has been on recovery actions which are outside the scope of the commission and are not dependant on the findings in Justice Neville Owen’s report into the $5.3 billion collapse. His target is to recover $1 billion and he hopes to get most of it without having to step into court.

Recovery work is arduous and not cheap and it is expected that creditors will not receive their first 5c in the dollar dividend until the second half of next year and will ultimately receive only between 10c and 20c spread over seven to 10 years.

Mr McGrath has briefed silks Allan Sullivan and Tom Bathurst as well as law firms Clayton Utz, Kemp Strang and Blake Dawson Waldron to push unsettled matters through the court system.

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