Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Finance
Commencement of Legislation
The Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 was signed into law by the President on 26 December 2019. The Act provides the Minister for Finance with powers to appoint a date for the Act to come into operation, or to appoint different days to commence different provisions of the Act.
At the end of January, I took the decision that the matter of when to commence the Act should be taken by the next Government. The background to this decision was a series of meetings with the major insurers where significant concerns were expressed about the early implementation of certain aspects of the Act. Specifically, it was indicated to me that sufficient time would be needed in relation to the implementation of Sections 8 (Pre–contractual duties of consumer and insurer) and Section 12 (Renewal of contract of insurance). In addition, Sections 9 (Proportionate remedies for misrepresentation) and 14 (Duties of consumer and insurer at renewal) are sufficiently interrelated with Section 8 that it is reasonable to consider that the concerns expressed also apply to these sections. Moreover, the Deputy should note that a general view was expressed by insurers that they also needed a number of months to prepare themselves for the implementation of the sections other than those referred to above.
My officials have advised me that the sector has indicated to them that if insurers are not provided with sufficient time to implement the requirements necessary to fulfil the obligations of the above mentioned sections, they may be forced to withdraw certain products from the market in order to prioritise others so as to ensure that they are fully compliant with the law. Officials understand that such a development would most likely to impact the employer/public liability part of the market. While conscious of the sector’s concerns, officials have emphasised to Insurance Ireland the importance of the need for ongoing preparation by the sector for the ultimate commencement of this Act, either on a phased basis or in full.
Consequently, as I believe that this matter is one to be considered after the formation of the next Government, I cannot currently give any indication of a likely timeline for the commencement of this Act, on a phased basis or in full.