Wednesday, 15 June 2022
Department of Finance
Firstly, it is important to point out that neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can direct the pricing or provision of insurance products. This is a commercial matter for individual companies to assess on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with their own calculation of various factors, including risk. This position is reinforced by the EU Single Market framework for insurance (the Solvency II Directive) which expressly prohibits Member States from any such intervention.
I am aware of recent increases in the cost of travel insurance. Furthermore, Government acknowledges the strong concerns felt by many groups regarding the cost and availability of such cover. While recognising that there is no single domestic legislative or policy fix to these and other insurance related issues, this Government has nonetheless moved to help address them through the implementation of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. This sets out 66 actions to bring down costs for consumers and business; introduce more competition into the market; prevent fraud and reduce the burden that insurance costs can have on business, community and voluntary organisations. As the Deputy may be aware, the Government published the Second Action Plan Implementation Report in March, which showed that 80% of the actions were being delivered. Our focus has now shifted towards delivering the remaining aspects of the Action Plan, most notably rebalancing the duty of care. Proposals for this important reform were approved by Cabinet last month.
One part of the Insurance reform agenda is the establishment of the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market, which I, as Minister of State for Financial Services, chair. My officials have also been working with the IDA to leverage the achievements of the reform agenda with overseas insurers. The IDA has commenced a targeted and multi-phased engagement process with several insurance providers and work is underway on this initiative.in order to encourage new capacity enter the market.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity 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 colleagues to ensure that implementation of the Action Plan can have a positive impact on the affordability and availability of insurance across all market segments.