Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Business Insurance: Motion [Private Members]
I thank everybody who participated in this debate. We all have a single objective, that is, to reduce the cost of insurance to businesses so that people are not impacted by the higher premium that is being charged.
I am not afraid to challenge the vested interests. I am not afraid to challenge the Garda if the Garda is not doing its job in pursuing fraudulent claims that have been presented in civil courts. I am not afraid to challenge the Judiciary if the level of awards are too high. The level of awards in the State are far too high, in particular for the lower levels of claim, namely, claims below €30,000 and between €30,000 to €50,000. Three bodies of work have shown the compensation here is multiples of what is paid in England and Wales. I am not afraid to take on other vested interests such as the insurance companies themselves. Eight companies have between 89% and 92% of this market, which is a decent market that is profitable right now. I am not afraid to take on anyone else in relation to these matters.
Likewise, I am not afraid to challenge myself in this Chamber to ensure that we conclude the Judicial Council Bill. Neither am I afraid to challenge each and every person here to help me to try to ensure that we get the Judicial Council Bill finished before the summer break. I asked Deputy Michael McGrath last year to assist me in ensuring the Insurance (Amendment) Bill was completed as soon as possible. His help was crucial to ensure that happened, which it did, and the Bill was enacted. I challenge this House and the other House as well to do the same for the Judicial Council Bill, to ensure that it is finished so that members of the Judiciary can do their work over the summer in an expedient manner in terms of reforming the guidelines for the book of quantum. I have been asked what will happen and why premiums for employers' liability and public liability have not decreased. It is because we have not reduced the awards and we must do that. If we do not do that, everything else will amount to nothing. Legislation to protect consumers in the insurance sector must also be pursued in order to protect the clients of insurance companies because the insurance companies are big fish who are there to make profit. I want to recalibrate their mindset to ensure that the most important people for them are their clients. They will not exist without there being clients to buy their product. I thank Members for the constructive nature of the debate. No mud has been thrown across the Chamber, for which I am grateful. We can all work together to achieve better for consumers.