Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Phil Hogan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
The Minister of State is correct to state that the insurance market has stabilised. He is aware that the Tánaiste received all-party support in the Oireachtas when she brought legislation to it to facilitate that change. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board has not yet properly come into focus because it is being challenged in the courts. A case was taken on the first day of the new law term to prevent it from doing the work it has been charged with doing. I am sure all Deputies are keen to ensure that the body will be up and running as soon as possible, so that it will have a chance of having a major impact on the cost of processing claims. Does the Minister of State agree that genuine competition will not be seen in the insurance sector and small businesses which are being quoted huge premia will not be assisted if the Single Market of the European Union is not completed to enable small business to shop around the EU for more competitive quotes? I ask this question in light of the fact that just six general insurance companies are prepared to give quotes to small businesses in Ireland.