Thursday, 18 February 2021
Department of Finance
99. To ask the Minister for Finance the progress made by his Department in tackling the high cost of insurance and the competitiveness of the insurance market here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9258/21]
The Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform contains a range of deliverables, including legislation where required, in a number of Government Department policy areas. Work is already underway in relation to certain areas, including:
- increasing market transparency through the National Claims Information Database (NCID), including for employer and public liability insurance;
- reviewing the duty of care legislation;
- providing for the Judicial Council’s accelerated adoption by 31 July 2021 of new personal injuries guidelines to replace the Book of Quantum;
- consideration by the Department of Justice of the Law Reform Commission’s recent Report on Capping Damages in Personal Injuries Actions;
- looking at how to further enhance the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board; and,
- making proposals on increasing competition in the Irish insurance market.
In addition to this work, there has been recent intensive engagement with key stakeholders by Minister of State Fleming, including meetings with the major insurers, the Alliance for Insurance Reform and industry representatives Insurance Ireland.
Furthermore, the Deputy will be aware that parts of the Irish insurance market have experienced reduced competition in recent years due to withdrawals by several insurers and a curtailment of risk appetite in some market segments. In this regard, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to create an Office tasked with encouraging greater competition in the Irish insurance market. As part of the Action Plan, an Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market was subsequently established in my Department. At its first meeting on 15 December, chaired by Minister of State Fleming, the terms of reference for the Office were agreed and these are available on the Office’s webpage.
The Office will develop a strategic approach to the promotion of insurance competition; encourage transparency and champion the provision of information in relation to the insurance market and available products; tailor its approach reflecting the particular circumstances pertaining in the business sector and that of the wider consumer market which may have different priorities; and importantly provide for more joined-up policy thinking and communications. Minister of State Fleming will report on a regular basis to the Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform on the work of the Office.
In conclusion, it is important to remember that this Office is part of the Government's overall insurance reform programme which seeks to reduce insurance costs and increase the availability of insurance cover.