Written Answers - Insurance Intermediaries.

Nora Owen

Question:

129 Mrs. Owen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason no action has been taken regarding serious complaints made to her concerning a person (details supplied) in County Louth; the action, if any, she will take in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18803/99]

I refute the Deputy's allegation that no action has been taken regarding the complaint made in this case.

A complaint concerning the activities of the insurance intermediary, referred to by the Deputy, was first made to our Department by another insurance intermediary in June of last year. The matter was examined at that time and it was determined that there was no basis for action on our part and the person who made the complaint was so informed.

Further allegations have very recently been made by the same party against the same individual concerning the person's fitness to practice as an insurance intermediary. Our Department is currently examining these further allegations. We have also sought legal advice as to the action or actions, if any, which we should or can take in the matter having regard to the provisions of the Insurance Act 1989.

I am concerned that the existing regime for the regulation of insurance intermediaries, which was established by the Insurance Act 1989, is inadequate. Accordingly, I sought and received Government approval in February 1998 to introduce a more comprehensive regulatory regime for insurance intermediaries using the extensive powers available to the Central Bank under the Investment Intermediaries Act, 1995. Legislation to give effect to this is at an advanced stage of drafting and I hope to be in a position to introduce a Bill on the subject during the months ahead.