Government's Action Plan for Insurance Reform light on actions - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has described the Government’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform as little more than a regurgitation of previous commitments made since 2016, with no fewer than fourteen reports to be published under the plan.
He has criticised the government for blocking sections of the Consumer Insurance Contracts Act and for failing to commit to a ban on dual pricing in the insurance market.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Today’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform is yet another report by a government that has failed to challenge the price-gouging of the insurance industry.
“The Action Plan commits to no fewer than fourteen further reports.
“Since 2016, we have had two Cost of Insurance Working Group Reports and eleven Progress Update Reports.
“Reports are not going to reduce the cost of insurance for consumers.
“This plan regurgitates many of the actions that were promised under the Cost of Insurance Working Group, but which Fine Gael in government have failed to implement since 2016.
“If anything, this plan is evidence of how little has been done since the first Cost of Insurance Working Group Report.
“Other actions in the plan are actually an insult to small businesses that have suffered as a result of Covid-19.
“The plan commits to supporting the Central Bank’s direction on business interruption claims by businesses that closed due to the pandemic - but there has been no direction, no action and no intervention by the Central Bank.
“Instead, small businesses have been forced to go to the courts - at great cost - for compensation they are entitled to under their insurance policies.
“I welcome the fact that the plan has my own Consumer Insurance Contracts Act as its first principal action, and this is vital to protect consumers. This reflects how important this Sinn Féin legislation is to reform insurance contracts and increase transparency.
“Given this is the case, it is unacceptable that the government continues to block key sections of this legislation for more than a year after it was signed into law.
“Finally, the plan fails to commit to banning dual pricing in the insurance market. This is despite the fact that this practice is known to target vulnerable groups and increase the cost of insurance for customers on renewal.
“This is disappointing and unacceptable. Dual pricing is banned in twenty states in America, with the British regulator committing to prohibit the practice in their own market. Irish customers deserve no less.
“Sinn Féin will be publishing legislation in the coming days to ban dual pricing in the Irish insurance market.
“What is needed to tackle rip-off insurance costs is action, not further reports or delay."