Written answers

Thursday, 16 May 2024

Department of Finance

Insurance Industry

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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161. To ask the Minister for Finance to outline any consent to settle provisions within insurance law, whereby insurers are required to seek an insured’s approval before settling a third-party claim, in the context of reports that insurers are settling claims for amounts and reasons that are disputed by the insured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22299/24]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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As Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation. As the Deputy will appreciate, I am unable to comment on individual cases and media reports relating to same.

As the Deputy will be aware, the duties of insurers are outlined in Section 16 of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019, which requires that an insurer shall “notify a consumer of a claim as soon as practicable after the insurer is informed of the claim”. This requirement took effect from 1 September 2020, as provided for under the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2020 (S.I. No. 329/2020).

Furthermore, under the Consumer Protection Code from the Central Bank of Ireland, insurers must advise the policyholder of “the final outcome of the claim including the details of the settlement”. It is particularly important that insurers engage with their policyholders in the event of a claim, to ensure that they correctly ascertain all the facts of the case and can challenge the claim should sufficient evidence be presented to allow them to do so. While the Central Bank of Ireland does not adjudicate on individual consumer complaints, the Code sets out how a regulated entity must engage with a consumer on complaints, which includes complaints around the handing of insurance claims.

In situations where a person is not satisfied with the actions of an insurance provider in terms of the settlement of a claim, it is advisable that that person make a complaint to the firm's internal complaint resolution process. The Consumer Protection Code requires that if after 40 days the complaint has not been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, the regulated entity must inform the consumer that they may refer their complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman (FSPO).

The FSPO is a statutory official who acts as an independent arbiter of disputes, which consumers may have with their insurance company or other financial service provider. The FSPO can be contacted either by email, at info@fspo.ie, or by telephone at 01-567-7000. Investigations by the FSPO are free of charge to the complainant.

Finally, Insurance Ireland also operates an Insurance Information Service for those who have queries, complaints or difficulties in relation to insurance, which can be accessed at: feedback@insuranceireland.eu


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