Consumers deserve better than archaic insurance laws – Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said insurance consumers deserve better than archaic insurance laws. He was speaking as he brought forward the Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill which will update insurance contract law to empower consumers against insurers.
Deputy Doherty said:
“This Bill is a part of what we need to be moving towards – a new culture where the consumer is actually protected from the banks and other financial institutions.
“This Bill specifically deals with insurance contracts and implements a wide range of measures that rebalance the law in favour of the consumer. Laws designed for 18th century sailing merchants are overhauled and replaced with modern consumer friendly laws. The archaic laws in force have resulted in a power imbalance where insurers hold all the cards.
“For example, an insurer could, under current laws, refuse to pay out if a house burned down because of an unrelated issue such as the burglar alarm not working. It also puts the onus onto the insurer to ask for all the relevant information instead of leaving it to the customer to guess what information might be relevant.
“So if my Bill is passed insurers will no longer be allowed to refuse paying out over technical issues or because a consumer didn’t know they were expected to volunteer information that wasn’t asked for.
“In short, this Bill is desperately needed to give the consumers a fighting chance. Insurers will also have to put their application forms and conditions in plain intelligible language and, in any dispute the consumer will be given the benefit of the doubt.
“This is part of a wider change in culture that is required so that consumers in financial matters are no longer an afterthought. We have seen scandal after scandal and laws such as the six year limit on any complaints that have created a massive imbalance in favour of the insurer.”