Written answers

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Insurance Industry

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

61. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the measures his Department is taking on the issue of insurance reform. [30236/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The Sub-Group on Insurance Reform, under the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery & Investment, which I chair was established to oversee and drive forward insurance reform. The Action Plan for Insurance Reform was published on December 8thand sets out 66 actions across Government to bring down the cost of insurance for consumers and business.

Actions for my own Department under the Action Plan are set out as follows:

- Enhancing the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board

My colleague the Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, has met regularly with PIAB and a range of representative bodies to assess the role of PIAB and develop proposals to enhance and reform the agency. The Minister has undertaken a public consultation seeking views on the matter from all interested parties. There has been very good engagement with the consultation and we are now concluding the examination of the responses with a view to introducing legislation to enhance and reform PIAB.

As set out in the Plan the new Personal Injuries Guidelines came into effect on the 24thApril. These Guidelines apply to all cases assessed by PIAB from that date. The new Guidelines clearly represent a shift in the manner in which general damages are awarded in our country and in the level of those damages and should exert downward pressure on insurance premiums.

In addition, the Minister for Justice along with Minister Troy, published the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Bill 2021 in April 2021. This Bill will bring Garda compensation claims within the PIAB process. This will benefit both claimants, in terms of quicker resolution of claims with an objective assessment of quantum, and the State as the respondent, in terms of lower legal and administrative costs.

- Strengthening the enforcement powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)

On the 22ndDecember 2020 Government approved the General Scheme of the Competition (Amendment) Bill. This Bill represents a step change in competition enforcement for Ireland and will give the CCPC more effective enforcement powers to punish anti-competitive conduct. The Bill has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment and is currently undergoing drafting with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

- Working together with the Department of Finance to establish an office within government to encourage greater competition in the insurance market

A new office to promote competition in the insurance market has been established within the Department of Finance, supported by my Department and chaired by the Minister for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance. The work of the Office includes engaging with sectoral stakeholders to understand gaps in the insurance market, with a view to expanding the risk appetite of existing insurers. It is also involved in exploring opportunities for new entrants in order to increase the availability of insurance. This Office will provide a more coordinated Government policy approach to promote competition in the insurance sector.

Under the Action Plan my Department is also continuing to oversee the implementation of the remaining Personal Injury Commission’s recommendations by relevant bodies.

The Government wants a competitive, stable and consumer-friendly insurance environment. The Action Plan for Insurance Reform is one of the most important programmes that this Government will undertake. Implementation of the Plan is on track and I will shortly chair a meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Group on Insurance Reform to assess progress. The full implementation of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform will help to ensure that we have an insurance system which is both affordable and reliable and one which underpins a vibrant economy.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.