Thank you Ceann Comhairle…Tanaiste, for
a number of years now we in Fianna Fáil and deputy micheal mcgrath in particular have
been highlighting and debating the burden of ever soaring insurance costs. Deputy McGrath
has raise the issue in the house but also with the competition and consumer protection
authority and with the european commission. We are all as deputies in the house aware
of the burden of soaring insurance costs on businesses and people generally may have seen
insurance costs rise between 40 & 60% over the last number of years. And there is considerable
evidence in recent months tanaiste of businesses closing as a consequence of excessive insurance
rises and for young drivers in particular. There are many examples of people being unable
to afford the premiums being charged to them thereby discommoding their daily lives. Despite
the pressure there’s been very little govt action to deal with this issue. You say you
are committed, you have published bucket loads of reports but tanaiste, you have absolutely
failed to stop insurance price hikes for businesses and for consumers around the country. It’s
not just Fianna Fáil who are saying this. The national competitiveness council figures
show that Irish insurance figures are significantly above the eurozone average thereby adding
to the competitveness burden faced by business and the burden on people’s daily lives. A
key factor in this burden tanaiste is the lack of competition in the irish market. And
this morning we have learned from David Murphy in RTE that the european commission have now
acted and have launched a preliminary investigation in to whether or not foreign companies are
being barred from the Irish market. David Murphy’s report quotes that companies like
Zenith, a company that pulled out of the market in 2016 who say “the lack of engagement with
us by industry bodies which we believe creates a disadvantage for us and our partners”. Less
competition tanaiste means higher prices for Irish consumers. Higher insurance premiums
are costing jobs. Higher insurance premiums tanaiste are hurting people across the country.
Tanaiste, firstly can you confirm that this preliminary investigation is under way and
how far has it progressed? Secondly, do you as tanaiste agree with me that insurance costs
are too high in Ireland and what are you actually doing as a govt to encourage more companies
to enter the Irish market? And finally tanaiste, the insurance industry body in Ireland, Insurance
Ireland, promotes access to a service of integrated data information for it’s members. This service
is a shared database that by arrangement with the dept of transport allows it’s users to
confirm the accuracy of penalty point information. Can you confirm tanaiste that all insurance
companies and all prospective insurance companies have access to that department of transport
information regardless of whether they are member of insurance ireland or not?
I appreciate tanaiste that you can’t comment because they are independent investigations
and that’s precisely one of the issues. They are independent of govt. It took 2 agencies
outside of govt to intervene to actually do something here. You have talked about reports
but meanwhile businesses and consumers are facing hugely excessive increases and again
the figures show that in relation to our EU competitors our insurance costs are significantly
above the EU average. Once again another burden on the costs of doing business here. Tanaiste,
high insurance costs are hurting jobs. Hurting business. And they are hurting families. And
what we need is action. So can you confirm when the action points in the report on the
costs of employer liability and public liability inurance will be completed? Secondly, when
will you complete all of the recommendations in the report on the costs of motor insurance?
And tanaiste will you actually do something to address the burden being faced by insurance
customers across the country instead of talking about it?