Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Department of Finance
124. To ask the Minister for Finance the engagement he has had in relation to public liability insurance specifically the lack of provision and high premiums; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17206/21]
138. To ask the Minister for Finance his plans to implement reforms in view of the increasing cost of insurance premiums; the latest discussions his Department has had on this issue; the persons or bodies with whom discussions have been held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16829/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 138 together.
The Programme for Government prioritises the reform of the insurance sector with particular emphasis on motor, public, and employer liability insurance. As such, the Action Plan for Insurance Reform sets out 66 actions across several Government policy areas, including in my Department, to improve the availability of insurance and tackle costs for businesses and consumers. At its most recent meeting, the Cabinet Committee Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, which oversees the implementation of the Action Plan, reflected upon the progress made in the first three months. This includes:
- The creation of an Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market within the Department of Finance.
- The adoption of new Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council.
- The launch of a public consultation on proposals to reform the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
It is my belief that the impact of these reforms, in conjunction with other strands of the insurance reform agenda, will improve both the cost and availability of insurance for consumers, businesses and voluntary groups. My Department has worked with the Central Bank of Ireland to expand the scope of the National Claims Information Database (NCID) to now include employer and public liability insurance. I look forward to the publication of the first NCID report on employer and public liability insurance this summer, which should bring much greater transparency to developments in these markets.
Minister of State Fleming and I have had extensive engagement with insurers and other key stakeholders in this policy area, including civic groups and state regulatory bodies. In particular, there has been frequent engagement with both the Alliance for Insurance Reform and Insurance Ireland on several aspects of the Action Plan. Minister of State Fleming is meeting with the main insurers shortly to hear their reaction to the new Personal Injuries Guidelines and to press their previous commitment to reduce premiums in line with lower award levels.
In conclusion, I can assure the House that we will continue to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders as the Government drives forward the insurance reform agenda that we have developed. I look forward to working with colleagues to implement further aspects of the Action Plan, with a view to achieving a more competitive and consumer-friendly insurance market to the benefit of all of Irish society.