Dáil debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018: Second Stage


2:55 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent) | Oireachtas source

Gabh mo leithscéal. From where is the Minister of State getting that information? He is getting it from the insurance companies. Can he not take away the coppers from his eyes to see that he is being robbed from the inside by the banks and the beef barons? They might not be robbing with guns, but there are always some inside the big cartels. Insurance companies are robbing us blind. They are robbing businesses, the community and voluntary sector and the ordinary young person. They are also robbing us through the cost of health policies. You name it - someone has everything until something happens and then there are 1,000 clauses. Last week my daughter locked her keys into her car and wanted to transfer her insurance from one vehicle to another. We spent three hours and made about 20 telephone calls in trying to do so. She did not want to drive a short distance without insurance. That is the way she should be encouraged. She had to teach a dance lesson some 30 miles away and was hardly able to function when she got there because of frustration.

There is the issue of not being able to engage with insurance companies. Deputy Michael Collins made reference to Axa Insurance leaving Bantry. It has also given notice that it is leaving Clonmel. Imagine telling people that they can travel 140 km. The sector has no respect for customers; it is time manners and respect were shown. In that regard, we have had successive weak Governments. First there was the collapse of the PMPA, the owners of which were close to Mr. Charles Haughey and bailed out. God rest them. Let us consider who has paid for any bailout reckless decisions since. It was the taxpayer and ordinary people. It is laughable. The recent storm will have the industry going on again about increases because of the cost of claims. I sympathise with anyone who has been injured or the families of those involved in fatalities and agree that we must be responsible and have health and safety rules, but there is now some amount of health and safety regulations imposed by insurance companies which look for any reason or disclaimer clause to not cover a person because he or she did not do this, that or the other, or because he or she did not have this or that box ticked. We must tackle the regulator because the body is dysfunctional and asleep at the wheel.

I am aware of businesses that are considered to be high risk such as Jumping Jacks and similar places where children go for parties. One company in Clonmel had an insurance policy that cost €11,000. It increased to €20,000 and then to €60,000 in three years. That is unmanageable. That level of viability or profitabiliy is not in the business.

Deputy Michael Collins has said the issue has been debated in the House for the past two years. I have been talking about it for the past 11 years and the position is getting worse. We are being ripped off far more than we were and premiums cover less and less. The merry-go-round continues. All of the cartels meet together and have the country crippled. We are caught in a bind and the permanent government does not seem to care. It is fine for them because they have pensionable jobs, but the lifeblood is being sucked from ordinary families, communities and small business people throughout the country.

Why are we not being allowed to bring in insurance companies from outside Ireland? People cannot obtain quotes or they are restrictive. If a person is involved in an accident or something happens, God help him or her, as the penalty will continue forever. Three levies have been imposed on premiums during the years because of company collapses and they have never been removed. After a certain amount of time one would expect the cost to be cleared.


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