Insurance rip-off not down to working people claiming their rights - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the news of the massive increase in insurance companies profits huge profits is evidence that despite industry spin the real cause of spiralling insurance costs is not down to claims or awards but pure price gouging.
He said government policy must now reflect this reality and any reforms that benefit the industry must be matched by clear verifiable commitments from them to reduce premiums.
Deputy Doherty said:
“Today’s news of huge increase in profits for insurers must mark the end of patience with an industry that has spun and blustered its way through years of unjustifiable increases while being treated with kid gloves by government. Let’s not forget that this sector is under formal investigation by domestic and EU competition authorities.
"I have always stated that the industry is spinning and bluffing and needed to be called out. I hope the penny has now dropped for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
"Any reforms that benefit the industry must be matched by clear verifiable commitments from them to reduce insurance premiums to their customers. This was previously done in 2002 by Insurance Ireland’s predecessor the Insurance Industry Federation.
"The Central Bank’s insurance database must be extended to include public liability insurance immediately and the CSO or some other body must put in place a way of measuring the cost of insurance for businesses and motorists that is reliable. We are years into this crisis and still lack the most basic transparency over pricing for a product that is compulsory.
"I met yesterday with Minister Darcy and expressed my concern and the ongoing crisis and its immediate effects on business and our society. I made it clear I intend to advance far reaching proposal to my Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill to reform how insurers operate. This bill will come before the finance committee next month for committee stage.
"There are clearly issues with awards and fraud that need to be dealt with. We need to have a zero tolerance to fraud and exaggerated claims but there is no proof that these issues are the cause of the large increases.
"The reality is we lack the transparency to know if such a link exists but government policy up to now has been based entirely on accepting the industry’s word that this is the cause of increase premiums. This assumption must end.
"The €227 million profits that were made by the industry last year a 1,300% increase in their profits from the previous year is clear evidence that these companies are involved in blatant price gouging.
"We cannot lose sight of the fact that ordinary worker and citizens who are in injured through no fault of their own are entitled to claim compensation. The escapades of a number of Fine Gael TD’s have only helped to tar all claimants with the brush of chancers.”