Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Finance
103. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will report on his engagement with the insurance industry to address the issues with access to affordable insurance faced by some businesses. [62218/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 103, 150 and 152 together.
Insurance reform is a key priority for this Government as evidenced by the fact that implementation of the Action Plan is overseen by the Cabinet Sub-Group on insurance reform, chaired by the Tánaiste.
A significant landmark of the ongoing reforms is the establishment of the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market. This Office, which I chair, is situated within the Department of Finance and has held meetings with a wide range of stakeholders including insurance companies, and representative organisation on issues surrounding competition. Its aims are to help expand the risk appetite of existing insurers and explore opportunities for new market entrants in order to increase the availability of insurance. In relation to this, the Office is working with IDA Ireland to help leverage the ongoing insurance reforms with the aim of targeting new entrants to the Irish market or seeking current incumbents, to expand their existing operations here.
In recent weeks, as part of this work I met with the CEOs of the major insurance providers in Ireland. They have confirmed that they are committed to passing on savings from the Guidelines, and other reforms, to customers. They also reiterated their support for the reform agenda and that they are adhering to the Guidelines in direct settlements with their clients. The need to expand their risk appetite into ‘pinch-point’ sectors that are experiencing issues with availability and affordability of cover, particularly high-risk/high-footfall areas, such as leisure activities was impressed upon providers at all our engagements. Some insurers indicated they are actively considering growing their business in certain areas.Separately, I also recently met with a leading international insurance brokerage firm, and discussed both the question of supply and the Irish market in general. In this regard, I also believe that insurance brokerage firms have an important role in assisting clients in sourcing cover, particularly in niche areas where their expertise and underwriting networks can add real value.
In conclusion, this Government is committed to securing a more sustainable and competitive market through deepening and widening the supply of insurance in Ireland. In this regard, it is my intention to work with my Government colleagues to ensure the timely implementation of the Action Plan which will bring benefits to individuals, businesses, community and voluntary groups across Ireland.