Government Publishes Plan to Reform Insurance Sector
66 actions across Government to bring down costs, introduce more competition, reduce burden on business
The Government has today (Tuesday the 8th of December) published the first Action Plan for Insurance Reform, with actions across Government to make Ireland’s insurance sector more competitive and consumer-friendly, supporting enterprise and job creation.
The Plan sets out 66 actions to bring down costs for consumers and business; introduce more competition into the market; prevent fraud and reduce the burden on business, community and voluntary organisations.
The Plan will:
- Replace the Book of Quantum with new guidelines on the appropriate level of personal injury awards
- Enhance the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board
- Examine the duty of care to strengthen waivers and notices to increase protections for consumers, businesses, sporting clubs and community groups.
- Further strengthen transparency through the expansion of the National Claims Information Database
- Monitor whether personal injury award levels need to be capped
- Reduce insurance fraud including placing perjury on a statutory footing, making the offence easier to prosecute
- Strengthen the enforcement powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
- Examine dual pricing
- Establish an office within Government to encourage greater insurance market competition.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said:
“Insurance reform is one of my top priorities as Tánaiste. For far too long, the cost and availability of insurance has been a problem for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups. Things have to change and I am determined that they should change for the better under this new Government.
“This Plan shows that Government is serious about reform and committed to bringing about substantive change for consumers and businesses, which will make a real difference to people’s lives and livelihoods.
“As we re-open our economy once more, businesses and families will face financial pressures, including that of insurance, and it our intention to alleviate that over the coming period.”
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD said:
“The launch of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform today represents a clear demonstration of this Government’s focus on reforming the insurance sector for our citizens and businesses. Its focus on an all-of-government approach is necessary if we are to deliver the key reforms needed. I believe that the insurance industry has a key role in helping to reopen the economy and wider society as we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and welcome their support of this agenda. Implementing these reforms will not be without challenge however our new approach provides the best basis for providing positive outcomes for consumers, in turn delivering wider social and economic benefits.”
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said:
”The Action Plan for Insurance Reform is an ambitious reform programme which shows the Government’s commitment to drive down insurance costs for businesses and consumers.
“Through the Action Plan my Department will drive a number of key actions, such as a review of the Occupiers’ Liability Act and an assessment of the implementation of the Personal Injury Guidelines.
“The Perjury and Related Offences Bill will introduce penalties for perjury related offences and there will be enhanced cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the insurance industry to combat insurance fraud.
“This Government is determined to bring about long awaited change in the insurance market, and we will work together to achieve that goal.”
Minister of State Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance Sean Fleming TD said:
“This whole of Government approach demonstrates our commitment to deliver a more competitive insurance market for consumers and businesses. We have spoken to all the insurance companies and stakeholders about how we can reduce premiums and I am satisfied these actions will deliver on this commitment over time. Progress has been made on motor insurance, but many businesses have not felt the benefits of this. My role is to encourage competition but also seek out a clear and transparent analysis of all costs associated with insurance premiums. Over the past couple of years, legal costs, fraud and big profits of insurance companies have hurt Irish consumers. Competition in Ireland has been shaped by the fact that we only have one locally owned insurance company, which makes us reliant on multinationals.
“Next week I will chair the first meeting of a new cross-departmental office which will take a strategic approach to promoting competition by breaking down barriers to reform and enhancing policy co-ordination across the State.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy added:
“Reform of the Personal Injuries Board and enhancing the powers of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is a top priority for me as Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation. The actions set out in this Action Plan are essential to reducing the cost of insurance and dealing with the negative impact this has on businesses and consumers. I am committed to progressing actions over the coming months to bring about effective change for consumers, businesses and community and voluntary groups”.
Actions will be undertaken and delivered by Ministers in the Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Finance and Justice over the next 18 months. The Sub-Group on Insurance Reform within the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery will meet regularly, engage with stakeholders and publish progress of the actions every six months.
Notes to Editor:
The Programme for Government sets out a range of commitments to reform the insurance sector in Ireland. These commitments include addressing legal reforms; addressing fraud; increasing competition and enhancing the role of the PIAB. The Government has established a Sub-Group on Insurance Reform under the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Investment to drive implementation of these commitments. The Sub-Group which is chaired by an Tánaiste includes:
- Minister for Finance;
- Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform;
- Minister for Justice;
- Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Youth;
- Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance;
- Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation.
The first task of the Sub-Group has been the development of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. The Action Plan launched today reflects the insurance reform commitments made in the Programme for Government as well as outstanding recommendations arising from the Reports of the Cost of Insurance Working Group and Personal Injuries Commission. It sets out 66 measures for reform in the short and medium term. It assigns responsibility to Government Departments for delivery and sets out associated timeframes for delivery of the commitments.
The Action Plan for Insurance Reform can be viewed on gov.ie.