Thursday, 16 July 2020
Department of Finance
82. To ask the Minister for Finance the plans in place to assist companies in the leisure and entertainment industries, community groups and community facilities that cannot obtain public liability insurance or in cases in which they receive a quote, it is prohibitively expensive. [16466/20]
I am very much aware of the problems faced by many businesses, community groups and voluntary organisations, particularly those in the leisure and entertainment sector, in relation to the availability and affordability of public liability insurance. However, neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can direct the pricing of insurance products, and neither can we compel any insurer operating in the Irish market to provide cover to community groups or organisations, as this is a commercial matter for insurers. This position is reinforced by the EU Single Market framework for insurance (the Solvency II Directive) 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.
As the Deputy will appreciate, there is no single policy or legislative fix to remedy the cost and availability of insurance issue. What is needed is for the ongoing reform measures to be implemented and to quickly bear fruit. In this regard, the new Programme for Government identifies a range of issues that the Government will prioritise so as to benefit consumers including small businesses such as those in the leisure and entertainment sector as well as in the various community groupings and facilities throughout the country. This cross-Departmental insurance reform agenda, which I believe builds and expands upon previous work done by the Cost of Insurance Working Group, is a priority for this Government and in particular for my Department.
In conclusion, I wish to emphasise that insurance reform remains a priority for the Government and as noted above this is reflected in the Programme for Government. This is an issue I, as Minister for Finance, along with my Departmental colleague, Minister of State Chambers, will focus on. In doing so we will be cooperating with our Ministerial colleagues that will be participating in the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment in terms of prioritising the commitments on insurance reform.