Alliance urges Government “don’t leave anyone behind” in insurance reform plans

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Whole sectors of society struggling to get insurance cover

The Alliance for Insurance Reform has urged the Government to avoid leaving any sector behind as insurance reforms are implemented.

At a meeting this afternoon with Sean Fleming, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance with responsibility for Insurance, the Alliance presented the experience of 21 sectors* that are struggling to get insurance cover or are increasingly vulnerable due to a lack of competition among insurers in their sector.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance said “We warmly welcome the implementation of the new judicial guidelines on personal injury awards which came into effect in April; and we expect this and other measures in the pipeline to apply significant downward pressure on premiums. But all that reform is of no value if you cannot get cover or there is only one underwriter prepared to offer cover. We have identified 35 sectors1 in this predicament.

Teresa Heeney, ​​​Chief Executive Officer of ​​Early Childhood Ireland, who attended the meeting said “ We believe that the Insurance Competition Office established by Minister of State Fleming can play a pivotal role in encouraging underwriters not currently offering cover in Ireland to do so, given the dramatic changes in the market that are taking place. We have proposed to the Minister that the Office:

  • Research and develop the market data requirements of potential incoming underwriters
  • Address urgent supply issues in areas such as childcare and child-oriented enterprises, hospitality and tourism, leisure and the creative and sports sectors; and the resultant risks associated with having just one underwriter covering strategically important sectors

Lucy Medlycott, Director of ISACS, the Irish Street Artists, Circus and Spectacular Network, who also attended the meeting said “ We also asked the Minister and his team to instruct the Insurance Competition Office to develop an understanding of the detailed market segmentation being used by underwriters to analyse opportunities; and formulate responses as necessary. For example, the entire Irish creative sector would probably make for a viable market for an underwriter. But if that sector is further broken down, then sub-sectors such as community circuses or street artists will probably never present a viable commercial opportunity and their demise would be Ireland’s loss.”

Peter Boland, concluded “The number of sectors represented at this meeting gives an indication of the scale and urgency of the supply issue. The market, if left to its own devices, will respond to ongoing insurance reforms like an oil tanker, not a speedboat. So Government must intervene on behalf of the sectors represented here today as well as others that we have identified. The actions identified by us have been backed up by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission market study of last December and must be implemented with real urgency. ”

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