Thursday, 20 September 2018
Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018: Second Stage
No, it does not indicate it is a big problem. What we are doing is ensuring that last year's premium is shown on the same page as the new premium if a company proposes to increase it. It will be evident that a premium has increased by X, Y or Z and there is not a cost attached to applying that. People can then shop around. We are also increasing the period of time for which people have cover so that they can have the opportunity to shop around more. We have looked at all of those issues, kicked them about and gone through them in serious detail to ensure that what we do will not increase premia but will decrease them.
Whether people want to hear it or not, it is the insurance company that settles the claim not the individual who holds the insurance policy. The matter is against the company not the policyholder. We are not satisfied with people finding out there was a claim when their policy is being renewed.
I support the establishment of the insurance fraud section in An Garda Síochána. One could ask whether it should have been established earlier. Perhaps it should, but in my view it was unlikely that an interim Garda Commissioner would establish it and set a precedent whereby the private sector would pay the salary of a garda. I have highlighted the fact that I think an issue arises in that regard. It is not the same as the Garda being hired to police a football match or other sporting occasion. It would involve the salaries of gardaí being paid for by a sector in order to progress criminal sanctions against individuals. The sanctions are pretty severe and involve a fine of €100,000 or a prison sentence. I said publically on a number of occasions that I do not believe that is the correct course of action to take. The money should go into the Exchequer and the Exchequer should pay the gardaí. The police force is independent and it would not sit well for the salaries of individual members to be paid by the private sector.
I will work backwards as best I can in responding to the contributions that have been made. The ignorance of Deputy Mattie McGrath on this matter is astonishing. We hear the same speech about everything, for example, post offices, insurance or anything else.
It is the same speech with the same buzzwords. If he had come to the AV room when I spent two hours several months ago going through these measures in detail with Members of the Oireachtas I could have informed him of what we are doing. Instead, he came to the House shouting about nothing being done and that rural Ireland is dead. He uses the same lines on every occasion. Once he has said his piece, he runs out the door. He has again left the Chamber. On two or three occasions I have asked him to await the response to his questions. I do not know where he is. He is probably halfway down the motorway by now. Maybe he will look at the response at some stage in the future.