14th November 2022
The Government has today published the third implementation report of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform.
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.
Today’s report shows that approximately 90% of actions in the Plan have been completed or are ongoing, with the remaining initiated.
Principal actions completed to date include:
- The Personal Injuries Guidelines have been given effect.
- Legislation to strengthen the laws on perjury has been enacted.
- The Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market has been established.
- The Insurance Fraud Coordination Office has been established.
Principal Actions to be completed in 2022 include:
- Reform of occupiers’ liability (duty of care) legislation.
- Reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said:
“For far too long, the cost and availability of insurance has been a problem for businesses, consumers and community and voluntary groups.
“We have made good progress in implementing the Action Plan and I thank my government colleagues for their work. The new Personal Injuries Guidelines are being used, new offices to promote competition and crack down on fraud have been established and we’ve strengthened the laws on perjury. Legislation to reform PIAB is before the Oireachtas and Government has approved proposals to amend the law on occupiers’ liability (duty of care).
“Still, I have always said that the success of this Plan will not be measured by the number of completed actions but rather whether the reforms, implemented over the lifetime of this Government, result in reduced premiums and increased availability of insurance. While we have seen some evidence of improvement of availability of insurance, we have only seen premiums decrease for motorists to date. It is also expected there will be a lag time between implementing the reforms and people seeing the benefits.
“So, I want the Subgroup on Insurance Reform to continue its work next year, overseen by the dedicated Cabinet Committee sub-group. It will continue and will actively review developments in the sector, monitor price changes and actively engage with stakeholders to resolve issues in the market.”
Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD said:
“The availability of affordable insurance is vital to facilitate activity across the wider society and economy. Accordingly, Government recognises the key role played by insurance, which is why we have committed to continued reform of the sector under the Action Plan. This Report reinforces that commitment, and highlights that the majority of initiatives under this wide-ranging and ambitious reform agenda have now been delivered.
“Recent CSO data continue to show a downward trend in motor insurance prices, which are now 43 per cent lower than their peak in July 2016, and are showing a 10 per cent reduction year-on-year. I believe this ongoing improvement, at a time of overall price rises, indicates that these actions have laid a solid foundation for change, and are delivering positive outcomes for consumers. In light of the current inflationary pressures, it is now vital that all savings from the reform package are passed on to customers, so that the full benefits of the Action Plan are realised”.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said:
“I am pleased to report that both businesses and consumers are beginning to feel the benefit of savings through reduced insurance prices. The Personal Injury Guidelines have had a clear and significant cost saving impact since their introduction with average general damages awards falling from €21,850 to €11,583, according to the PIAB’s most recent Personal Injuries Awards Values report.
“To tackle insurance fraud, a key contributor to the cost of insurance, my Department Increased resourcing to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), which has allowed them to open the Insurance Fraud Coordination Office as well as provide training and support to all Garda Divisions in how to investigate fraud.
“Recently, my Department reviewed the Occupiers' Liability Act with a focus on rebalancing the duty of care owed by occupiers to visitors and recreational users. I believe these proposals strike the right balance between ensuring that businesses, community groups and organisers of events fulfil their duty of care responsibilities, while also acknowledging the importance of personal responsibility of visitors, recreational users and trespassers.”
Minister of State Department of Finance with responsibility for Financial Services, Credit Unions and Insurance Sean Fleming TD said:
“This Government has prioritised insurance reform. Our current focus is on completing the reform agenda this year. These reforms have been sought by interest groups and the insurance industry, and this Government has delivered.
“There has been a large reduction in motor insurance premiums, which has been positive. It is now important that the savings and benefits generated from these reforms be passed on to businesses and community groups.
“Progress has been made in attracting additional liability capacity into the Irish insurance market. We are now seeing additional insurance companies compete to provide cover for sectors that were uninsurable just a few years ago.
“More work is underway to deliver a more competitive insurance market through the support of brokers and the IDA.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Dara Calleary added:
“As Minister with responsibility for the Personal Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB), I am progressing legislation through the Dáil to enhance and reform the Board.
“Under my proposed reforms the renamed Personal Injuries Resolution Board will offer mediation as a means of resolving a claim, it will retain claims of a wholly psychological nature, and the court’s discretion regarding costs in litigation will be tightened among other features that I expect will assist in part to reduce the high cost of insurance.
“I am determined to enact this legislation in 2022 to enable PIAB begin the transition to a new and enhanced service in 2023.”
Notes to Editor
The Programme for Government contains commitments which together clearly demonstrate the Government’s commitment to real reform of the insurance sector to deliver an insurance system which is both affordable and reliable and one which underpins a vibrant economy.
The Sub-Group on Insurance Reform under the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and 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.
The ‘Action Plan for Insurance Reform’ was launched on 8 December 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: Action Plan for Insurance Reform - Implementation Report November 2022
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