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Pearse Doherty TD calls for Central Bank investigation into price discrimination by insurance companies

26 September, 2019 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy Leader Pearse Doherty TD has called for an investigation into the practice of dual pricing by the insurance industry.

Deputy Doherty wrote to both the Central Bank and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission asking for an investigation into companies discriminating against loyal customers by offering inflated prices whenever their policies are renewed. He welcomed the decision by the Finance Committee to undertake its own investigation into the issue upon his request that they do so.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Customers and businesses throughout the State are being charged rip-off prices by the insurance industry. This is squeezing incomes and has led to the closure of businesses throughout the State.

“The scale of the insurance industry’s scam is met only by the scale of this Government’s inaction and failure to tackle escalating costs and industry malpractice.

“There is no better example of this than the industry’s practice of price discrimination that punishes loyal customers when they renew their premium.

“After receiving my own premium renewal, my insurance company Liberty Insurance charged a renewal price of €856.

“I did the normal thing, shopped around and called the company to get a better price. The best they could offer, I was told, was €814.

“On Liberty Insurance’s own website, I quoted a premium of €571 after entering exactly the same details.

“This was a 33% reduction, almost €300 less than Liberty tried to charge me in my renewal quote.

“The practice of punishing loyal customers when they renew their policy is called dual pricing. This practice is widespread across the industry and wholly unjustifiable.

“It is a systematic scam, costing costumers hundreds of euros every year without them even knowing it is happening.

“These companies exploit customers who do not know about dual pricing, relying on their loyalty to charge extortionate prices and push up their own profit margins.

“It harms the interests and welfare of customers, is carried out without any transparency and disproportionately affects vulnerable and low-income customers.

“It’s a rip-off on a vast scale, but nothing has been done to stop it by this Government.

“I am asking the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation support my request for these investigations to begin immediately, and if they will act on their recommendations.

“Everyone with insurance will be asked to renew their policies in the next 12 months, and I would urge them to do what I did and seek an online quote before accepting the inflated and discriminatory renewal price offered by their insurer."

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