Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Finance

Insurance Industry

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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159. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will discuss the effect that increasing liability insurance premiums are having on sports and cultural organisations as well as adventure centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32269/22]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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While neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, I can assure the Deputy that this Government is committed to improving the cost and availability of insurance for all consumers, businesses and community groups, including the sporting and cultural sectors.

The whole-of-Government approach being taken through the Action Plan for Insurance Reform which sets out 66 actions which aim to improve both the cost and availability of this key financial service, particularly for businesses. The Second Implementation report, which was published on 1 March 2022, shows that 80 per cent of these actions are now being delivered.

Among the key developments so far are the implementation of the new Personal Injury Guidelines, which significantly reduce award levels for many categories of common injuries, particularly those of soft tissue. Recent data from the Personal Injury Assessment Board (PIAB) show that award levels have fallen by an average of 40 per cent, providing stability and certainty to the claims environment.

As part of the effort to increase competition, the Department of Finance is working closely with the IDA to bring new entrants into the Irish insurance market, including in areas which have been identified as ‘pinch-points’ in the Irish market, such as the ones highlighted by the Deputy. The IDA is currently commencing a multi-phased engagement process with these targeted underwriters and will seek to leverage the achievements of the Government insurance reform agenda to date. 

In terms of upcoming issues, rebalancing the duty of care is now a high priority action for Government and is being led by the Department of Justice. Overhauling this legislation should help to address the issue of “slips, trips and falls”, which are particularly prevalent in high-risk/heavy-footfall areas such as sports, leisure and adventure centres.

It may also interest the Deputy to know that the National Sports Action Plan 2021 -2023 provides for the establishment of a sports sector stakeholder forum to examine insurance issues in the sector. Enquiries regarding this initiative should be directed to the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media.

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 and this in turn should help address some of the issues that are the focus of this Parliamentary Question. 

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