Dáil debates

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Insurance Industry

10:20 pm

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank Deputy Dillon for coming back with a specific question about the action that has been taken. The programme for Government has highlighted this issue as a key matter to be dealt with by the incoming Government. Already, there has been a meeting involving four senior Cabinet Ministers and the Minister of State, Deputy Troy, and I with representatives of small businesses. We met face to face with Insurance Ireland today, which is the representative body of the insurance companies and we agreed that there will be a meeting in September with it and several Cabinet Ministers to discuss this issue.

There is a case ongoing with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK on this exact point. We believe that due to the similarity in our legal systems and insurance policies this could have a significant impact when the matter is decided in the UK courts.

The Central Bank does have a role and it is examining the issue at the moment. From the outset, we considered this primarily as a business issue that needs to be dealt with based on a straightforward business approach. If people believe they had a proper policy, which specifically listed various diseases, this should be interpreted as broadly as possible.

Furthermore, I know it may be difficult for some businesses seeking to reopen when they have this hanging over them but I ask the Deputy to highlight to the businesses in his constituency that the Government has made a number of other supports available to the small businesses to which he referred in the July jobs stimulus. I ask the Deputy to engage with his constituents directly on the 50 other avenues that form part of the July stimulus which may help the businesses he is concerned about to get firmly back on their feet as quickly as possible, notwithstanding the fact that the insurance issue is an ongoing one that is not fully resolved to our satisfaction to date. I will keep in touch with the Deputy on this matter.


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