Written answers

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Department of Finance

Private Rented Accommodation

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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155. To ask the Minister for Finance the steps he is taking to address insurance premium increases on landlords who rent out their units to housing assistance payment or rent assistance payment recipients rather than private tenancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38881/18]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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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 has the power to direct insurance companies on the pricing or provision of insurance products. Indeed, the EU framework for insurance 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. Thus the provision of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is a commercial matter for insurance companies, not dependent on any Government scheme and is based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to accept and adequate provisioning to meet those risks. These matters are considered by insurance companies on a case-by-case basis.

It is my understanding that insurers use a combination of rating factors in making their individual decisions on whether to offer cover and what terms to apply. Insurers do not all use the same combination of rating factors, prices vary across the market and consumers are free to choose and in fact are continually encouraged to shop around for the best price. It is also my understanding that Insurance companies consider their pricing structure in accordance with their own past claims experience.

Finally, I would highlight that the two schemes mentioned by the Deputy - the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) - both fall under the remit of the Minister of Housing, Planning and Local Government, while policy in respect of rent supplement payments is the responsibility of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.


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