Dáil debates

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Insurance Industry

11:50 am

Photo of Cormac DevlinCormac Devlin (Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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104. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will report on the work that he has undertaken to bring down the cost of insurance for motorists, homeowners and businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46283/22]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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The Government brought forward proposals that were enacted by the Oireachtas, which have brought benefits to people buying insurance cover generally. The voluntary and community groups that take out public and employers liability insurance have not benefited from the changes to the extent that they should have. This is an area that needs to be addressed.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The programme for Government recognises that insurance costs are a significant issue for some businesses, motorists, and households, as well as for sporting, community, and voluntary groups. Accordingly, the Cabinet committee subgroup on insurance reform was established to prioritise this area for further action. This reform work is being driven through the action plan for insurance reform, which sets out 66 actions, most of which have been completed. According to the second action plan implementation report, published in March this year, the reform agenda is progressing well, with some 80% of actions completed at that time. Further progress has been made in the meantime and some of the key achievements to date aimed at reducing costs include the following: first is the implementation of the personal injuries guidelines, and we are pleased that there have been judicial reviews on that which have been positive in standing over the judicial guidelines as originally set out; second, the Central Bank has put a ban on price walking for home and motor insurance, which will end the loyalty penalty imposed on some long-term customers. That was enacted and completed by the Oireachtas recently; third is the establishment of the office to promote competition in the insurance market, which aims to lower costs by promoting greater competition in the Irish market. That office is up and running and contains two elements. It is about increasing the number of businesses that are operating in the State to extend their footprint into areas where they are not issuing insurance at the moment and it seeks to encourage new insurance companies to come into the market. The main benefit of that is that it encourages consumers to come together and generate group schemes so they can go to some of the insurance companies with a significant portfolio of business, rather than each company going individually; and, fourth, is measures to reduce fraud, including the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Perjury and Related Offences) Act 2021, which has concluded and passed through the Oireachtas, and further legislation will be coming up in the immediate future.

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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I will make a quick comment and maybe the Minister of State will reply to me in writing to enable other colleagues to get their questions in. Over the past 18 months public and employers liability insurance has increased by 16%. We need new insurers and the benefits of reform are not being passed on to business insurance of voluntary and community groups.