Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Finance

Insurance Coverage

Photo of Christopher O'SullivanChristopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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47. To ask the Minister for Finance if the action plan on insurance reform will address the disparity by which businesses and homes are denied insurance flood cover even in situations in which the town which they live or do business in has had a flood relief scheme built; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23589/21]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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This Government is committed to bringing down the cost and increasing the availability of insurance for motorists, homeowners, businesses and voluntary groups alike. The Action Plan for Insurance Reform sets out 66 actions across several policy areas, with 95 per cent due to be completed by the end of 2021. Progress continues to be made across many areas, and the adoption of the Personal Injuries Guidelines is a key milestone in this regard. The wide-ranging reforms under the Action Plan for Insurance Reform should help improve both the cost and availability of all types of cover, including property insurance.

Current government policy in relation to increasing flood insurance coverage is primarily focused on the development of a sustainable, planned and risk-based approach to managing flooding problems. The Government is investing almost €1 billion in flood relief measures over the lifetime of the National Development Plan 2018-2027 with an expectation that insurers will provide cover where this has occurred. This approach is complemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Office of Public Works (OPW) and industry representatives Insurance Ireland. This provides for the exchange of data in relation to completed flood defence schemes which should, in turn, provide a basis for the increased provision of flood insurance in these areas.

The Deputy should be aware that as Minister for Finance, I have responsibility for the development of the legal and policy framework governing financial regulation, and neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland can direct insurance companies to provide flood cover to specific individuals or businesses. This position is reinforced by the EU framework for insurance (Solvency II Directive).

That being said, I am conscious of the challenges that the absence or withdrawal of flood insurance cover can cause to homeowners and businesses. I acknowledge that while there has been an overall increase in the provision of flood insurance between 2015 and 2020, some householders are still experiencing difficulties. This is particularly the case for households in areas with demountable flood defences. My officials are engaging with both Insurance Ireland, the OPW and other stakeholders regarding flood defence schemes and how the levels of insurance cover might be improved in areas where flood defence works have been completed.

Furthermore, the Deputy should be assured that Minister of State Fleming and I will also continue to engage on all aspects of insurance reform, including flood cover, and that every effort is being made to encourage a responsive approach from the industry.


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