Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill 2017: From the Seanad
I want to take this opportunity to commend Deputy Pearse Doherty and his team on the passing of this legislation. It has had a long journey since it was introduced in 2017. It was delayed for a long period of time. This important legislation will modernise the law in the area of insurance contracts. Up to now, the law has been very much stacked against the consumer. I acknowledge the work of the LRC in publishing the initial draft Bill.
There are many examples of insurance consumers needing to be better looked after. Earlier this evening, I spoke on the telephone to a constituent who managed to get a cheaper quote elsewhere when he was renewing his motor insurance policy. The new quote is approximately €200 less than his existing premium. When this elderly gentleman telephoned his broker to ask for a hard copy of his no-claims bonus, he was told that all the documentation had been emailed to him. He does not do email. He cannot print an email. He does not have an email account. I advised him to contact the broker again to say that he needs to have a hard copy posted out to him. This kind of niggly, stupid little thing is a completely unnecessary and unwarranted part of the approach of some parts of the industry, which seems to involve mistreating customers. It should not be necessary for legislation to intervene where common sense and basic good practice should apply to the treatment of customers. Passing this Bill is a good day's work. It will make a positive difference. We are glad to support it.