Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Finance
Personal Injury Claims
110. To ask the Minister for Finance if the information provided in the National Claims Information Database can disclose if reduced claims costs for insurers as a result of the personal injuries guidelines have been passed onto consumers through reduced insurance premiums; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62364/21]
The implementation of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines is a significant milestone in the insurance reform agenda, which should lead to reduced claims costs for insurers. The Government is committed to holding insurers to account and ensuring that consumers experience the benefits from the range of measures being implemented under the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. As the Deputy will appreciate, consistent implementation of these Guidelines by insurers, PIAB and the Judiciary will be vital in achieving an improved claims environment.
The National Claims Information Database (NCID) is published by the Central Bank of Ireland. The NCID contains a wealth of data that can provide insights into developments within the insurance sector such as the cost of premiums; the cost and frequency of claims; the settlement of claims; the revenues and expenditures of firms, and the profitability of the sector. As the Deputy is aware, there is no comparable resource in the UK, or indeed any other EU market. As such, the NCID allows us to monitor the impact of any reduced costs that insurers incur on the cost of premiums. I believe this is more valuable than monitoring the impact of a single reform such as the Personal Injuries Guidelines, especially as there are multiple reforms being pursued under the Action Plan, which may also impact on the cost and availability of insurance.
That said, following the publication of the Personal Injuries Guidelines, officials engaged with the Central Bank of Ireland to consider possible further enhancements to the NCID data specification. In this regard, the Bank has outlined its intention to collect additional claim settlement data for all classes of business within the remit of the NCID so as to obtain further information on the impact of the Guidelines on claims settlement.
Finally, it is important to note that it is still early days in terms of assessing the impact of the Guidelines, and any data available to date is preliminary in nature. Nevertheless, I am pleased to note that the latest CSO data, and the recently-published third NCID Report on Private Motor Insurance, both point to a continuing decline in the price of motor insurance. In time with consistent use of the Guidelines this should help to further bolster this downward trajectory, and the NCID will allow us to see whether this is the case. The NCID has already proven to be an excellent tool when it comes to increasing transparency regarding how the cost of claims impacts on the price of premiums. In light of the ongoing expansion that is planned, I believe that it remains the most effective measure to objectively monitor whether savings arising from the Personal Injuries Guidelines, as well as other reforms, are being reflected in premiums.