Alliance welcomes extension of Cabinet Insurance Reform group into 2022 as premiums continue to spiral
Asks Tánaiste to publish timelines for outstanding key reforms
The Alliance for Insurance Reform has welcomed the decision by the Tánaiste to extend the work of the Cabinet Sub Group on Insurance Reform into 2022, announced on the publication of the second implementation report of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform.
Peter Boland, Director of the Alliance said “Insurance premiums for SMEs, voluntary and community groups, sports and cultural organisations and charities continue to spiral, with many organisations now struggling to get cover at all. Our ongoing policyholder survey measures the increase in average liability renewals at +16%, on top of unsustainable increases in previous years. In the meantime, key reforms have not been completed so it is critical that the Cabinet Sub-Group keep working and see this issue through by delivering affordable insurance premiums.
“However, we have a serious concern that the key outstanding reforms, on rebalancing the duty of care, reforming the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and resolving the national claims database, all of which are well behind schedule, do not have revised, specific timelines attached to them. If there are no timelines, there is no accountability, so we would ask the Tánaiste, in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Sub Group on Insurance Reform, to update the Implementation Report with specific timelines on these key reforms.
“Further, while the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market is heralded as a ‘new departure’, it is in operation since December 2020 and has not delivered meaningful additional competition. Incumbent insurers have not delivered reductions on the back of the significant reforms implemented so far and it is up to Government to ensure more competition is brought into the Irish insurance market now and that no sector is left behind, unable to get cover.”
Government’s Plans to Drive Down Cost of Insurance On Track
- New personal injury guidelines resulting in 50% decrease in personal injury awards
- Perjury law enacted, office to promote competition established
- 6-month implementation report published today shows 50% of actions completed
06 July 2021
The Government has today (Tuesday the 6th of July) published the first implementation report of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform, showing 50% of actions have been implemented in the first 6 months of the plan.
The new Personal Injuries Guidelines are having an impact, with preliminary data from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB) indicating that the average award has decreased by approximately 50%. Furthermore, 78% of PIAB awards are now €15,000 or less compared to 30% in 2020.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said:
“We published this plan to bring down the cost and increase the availability of insurance for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups. I’m really happy to see that today, 6 months later, we can see the actions we are taking are working.
“It’s early days, but there are signs that Personal injury awards are falling – by around 50%. This is as a direct result of the new Personal Injuries Guidelines. We expect this dramatic drop to be reflected in premiums over the next year and we will be following this up with insurance companies.
“While this progress is welcome, we are committed to doing more to reduce insurance costs and increase availability. Insurance reform is one of my top priorities as Tánaiste. In the coming months we will implement an ambitious programme of legislative reform to strengthen PIAB and the CCPC. We will also enhance the National Claims Information Database, look to publish more frequent data and develop measures in relation to fraud and occupier’s liability.”
The Action Plan for Insurance Reform published in December 2020 sets out 66 actions across Government to make Ireland’s insurance sector more competitive and consumer-friendly, supporting enterprise and job creation
Implementation of the Plan is on track with 34 actions already completed and a further 21 actions due to be completed this year.
Principal actions delivered to date include:
- The Personal Injuries Guidelines have been given effect.
- Legislation to strengthen the laws on perjury has been enacted.
- Legislative proposals to enhance and reform PIAB have been developed.
- The Office to promote competition in the insurance market has been established.
- The scope of the National Claims Information Database has been widened to cover Employer Liability and Public Liability with a first report in this area due next month.
The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD said:
“Insurance reform continues to be a key priority for the Government as the publication of today’s Action Plan for Insurance Reform Implementation Report clearly demonstrates. Of the 66 actions included within the Plan, over half (34) are now considered as complete with the majority on track to be finalised by year end. I am certain that implementation of the outstanding actions will improve both the affordability and availability for insurance for individuals, businesses and voluntary groups across Ireland. This is particularly important for enterprises that have been impacted by the pandemic, to ensure that insurance does not represent an obstacle to economic recovery.”
Minister of State for Justice Hildegarde Naughton TD said:
“In the six months since the Action Plan was published, we have seen very significant progress across its range of actions. In particular, the commencement of the Personal Injuries Guidelines in April, was a very significant step in meeting our commitment to make insurance more affordable for consumers, businesses and community groups. Early indications suggest that the Guidelines are having a positive effect and I look forward to reporting more fully on their implementation and early impact later in the year”.
“Equally, the enactment of the Perjury and Related Offences Bill ,which introduces penalties for perjury related offences, and the planned establishment of the Insurance Fraud Coordination Office under the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau are very welcome developments. Both will act as effective deterrents to assist in tackling fraudulent claims”.
Minister of State Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance Sean Fleming TD said:
“I am pleased that the first Action Plan for Insurance Reform Implementation Report is being published today. The early implementation of the Personal Injuries Guidelines is a key moment in the insurance reform agenda. Those Guidelines have reduced award levels significantly, and should make the insurance and claims environment more stable. It is the Government’s expectation that insurers pass all savings to their customers and increase their risk appetite by providing insurance to businesses, voluntary groups, and citizens. I will continue to engage with the insurance industry on this. I intend on bringing forward new legislation in the autumn to increase transparency and address other matters that have come up over the past six months.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy said:
“Addressing the cost and availability of insurance continues to be a priority for me and for the Government. The actions completed to date under the Action Plan are already having an effect. I welcome the recent preliminary data from the Personal Injuries Assessment Board that indicates the average award has decreased on average by 50% following commencement of the Personal Injuries Guidelines. Further detailed examination of data across all settlement channels will be needed but this is a positive initial outcome”
“Throughout the past year I have been working with PIAB, my Department, and key stakeholders to reform and enhance PIAB’s role, and I am currently considering legislative proposals in this regard. I am determined our legislative proposals will deliver real reform to reduce the cost of litigation and ultimately, premiums. I am also progressing legislation to strengthen competition law in Ireland. The legislation will break new ground in this area, giving competition authorities, such as the CCPC, enhanced powers including administrative sanctions and other tools in dealing with anti-competitive practices.”
Notes to Editor:
The ‘Action Plan for Insurance Reform’ was launched on the December 8, 2020. The Action Plan sets out 66 actions for reform to bring down the costs for consumers and business and to introduce more competition into the market: https://smex-ctp.trendmicro.com:443/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=https%3a%2f%2fassets.gov.ie%2f100687%2fe7171fcd%2d9273%2d42e6%2da289%2d7b912386b9b2.pdf&umid=75c2db1c-691f-43d9-b362-071dfb9eaffe&auth=43ff9ca5824af5fcf2ab3da15bfea1b8c1c54367-49af09cbe7ac5a4fbbad72fb648bbc1493a8dc05
The Sub-Group on Insurance Reform under the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery & Investment, chaired by the Tánaiste, with membership from Ministers and Ministers of State, is tasked with driving insurance reform on a cross-governmental approach. The Sub-Group continues to meet on a regular basis to oversee and implement reform and consider the progress that each Minister is making in implementing the specific actions for which they have responsibility.