Thursday, 1 June 2017
Department of Finance
As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. Neither I nor the Central Bank of Ireland can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance which expressly prohibits Member States from adopting rules which require insurance companies to obtain prior approval of the ?pricing or terms and conditions of insurance products.
The Deputy will note that, according to the official data from the Central Statistics Office, the cost of insurance connected with dwellings has remained largely stable since December 2011. It has increased and decreased at various times and fluctuated by less than 15% in total from its lowest to highest levels during the five years from December 2011 to December 2016. At the end of 2016 it was 5.7% higher than it had been at the end of 2011. For the first four months of 2017, the month-on-month increases of insurance connected with dwellings have been 2.4%, 2.5%, 0% and 0%, respectively.
Comparably, the cost of motor insurance was 51.7% higher in December 2016 than it had been in December 2011, and at times early last year had been as much as 60% higher. Although official or reliable data in respect of the cost of employer liability insurance and public liability insurance is difficult to source, increases in the prices of these types of insurance have apparently risen at a significantly higher rate than that of home insurance. Therefore, on the basis that there is a need to prioritise the implementation of the cost of insurance report and also complete the public liability and employer liability review, I do not propose to look at the issue of the cost of home insurance at this point in time within the context of the Cost of Insurance Working Group's ongoing review of the insurance sector. Nevertheless, my Department will monitor the cost of home insurance as part of its ongoing policy work in the insurance sector.