Written answers

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Department of Finance

Insurance Industry

Photo of Marc MacSharryMarc MacSharry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fianna Fail)
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24. To ask the Minister for Finance the way he plans to increase competition in the insurance sector. [44819/21]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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This Government recognises the importance of a stable, well-functioning and competitive insurance industry. Therefore the Action Plan for Insurance Reformset out 66 actions across a number of policy areas which is aimed at reducing volatility in the market, removing barriers to entry and making Ireland more attractive to insurance companies. The Government recently published the first Action Plan Implementation Report. This shows that work is progressing well to implement these important reforms, with 34 of the 66 actions now complete.

A key achievement of the Government’s reform agenda is the establishment of the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market, which I chair. The Office has held meetings with a wide range of bodies under the four main pillars of the Office work plan – Promotion, Transparency, Engagement and Innovation. These are targeted to promote greater market transparency, champion the provision of consumer information, such as switching campaigns, and encourage greater competition in the insurance market, including where appropriate, through the application of new technologies. I also met with CEOs of the major insurance providers in Ireland earlier this year. I will meet with them again over the coming months to discuss a variety of issues, in particular the need to address customer concerns regarding cost and availability of insurance.

Furthermore, the Department is also working closely with the IDA to bring new entrants into the insurance market to improve its overall competitiveness. Officials from both are developing a customised proposal and are identifying potential providers who offer insurance in identified ‘pinch-points’ segments of the Irish market. This includes those coverage areas impacting businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups.

In addition, Department is collaborating with the Central Bank to create an insurance databank, which will assist new providers to enter the Irish insurance market. This Programme for Government commitment was also recommended by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in its Public Liability Market report which was published in 2020. This is complimented by the National Claims Information Databases (NCID) reports on motor and employers' liability (EL), public liability (PL) and commercial property insurance. These initiatives will provide rich sources of data to both aid transparency and assist in policy formulation.

Finally, I would like to assure the Deputy that securing a more sustainable and competitive market through deepening and widening the supply of insurance in Ireland remains a key policy priority for this Government. In this regard, it is my intention to work with my Government colleagues to ensure the timely implementation of the Action Plan, which is key to improving the cost and availability of insurance for all consumers, businesses and community groups across Ireland.


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