Sinn Féin legislation that would hold insurers to account to proceed to committee stage – Pearse Doherty TD
The Judicial Council (Amendment) Bill, introduced by Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, will proceed to Committee Stage following a decision by the Finance Committee.
The legislation would require the insurance industry to provide information to the Central Bank outlining how the cost of claims have reduced as a result of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines, and how they have passed those savings to their customers, euro for euro, for each of the next four years.
Teachta Doherty said:
“I welcome the decision by the Finance Committee that my legislation to hold the insurance industry to account and ensure they are passing on savings to their customers will now proceed to committee stage.
“This is an important step in making this legislation law.
“The Personal Injuries Guidelines have been in place for more than a year now.
“Since they took effect, personal injury awards through PIAB have fallen by 38 percent.
“These reductions in awards result in big savings for insurance companies – savings that should be passed onto their customers.
“It is clear that motorists, small business and voluntary groups are not seeing the benefits of these reforms.
“These reforms were introduced to lower prices for customers, not to benefit insurance companies and their shareholders.
“Last year in the motor insurance sector alone, the industry made combined profits of €176 million while the premiums fell by only 2 percent.
“My Bill would require the insurance industry to provide information to the Central Bank for each of the next four years outlining how the cost of claims have fallen as a result of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines, and if they have passed these savings on to their consumers in the form of reduced prices.
“The legislation requires the Central Bank to report this information to the Minister for Finance with a report brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas annually.
“That way, we can increase transparency and hold the industry to account.
“Similar regulations are in place in Britain following a reduction in the level of whiplash injury awards, where many insurers in this market, including AIG, AXA, Allianz, Aviva and RSA, also operate.
“These companies should not be subject to less scrutiny in Ireland.
“This legislation would hold the industry to account – ensuring that they deliver fair value to their customers rather than supporting their own profit margins.
“That the Bill will now proceed to Committee Stage is an important step in protecting consumers."