Written Answers. - Insurance Industry.

Thomas P. Broughan


82 Mr. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will make a statement on her plans to encourage competition in the insurance industry. [15124/02]

The insurance division of my Department and the Competition Authority are actively considering having a consultancy study undertaken with a view to a vigorous examination of the competitiveness of the Irish insurance market. Such a study would be reflective of the commitment in the programme for Government to remove unwarranted constraints on competition in all sectors of the economy. Under the programme, we are committed to supporting the achievement of a single EU market in insurance.

In the specific case of motor insurance, the MIAB report made it clear that the market for private motor insurance was not competitive. The MIAB was of the view that the imperfect state of the market was such that consumers' concerns were unlikely to be allayed without an investigation by the Competition Authority. The chairperson and a senior member of the authority met with the MIAB recently to discuss the question, which will be further considered in the context of undertaking the consultancy study referred to above. I was pleased to learn that, at that meeting, the chairperson indicated his willingness to respond positively, if requested, to carry out an examination of the insurance sector generally.

Richard Bruton


83 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the indices of insurance costs which her Department collects; the data for each of the past five years; the aggregate of insurance premia collected under different categories which have been notified to her in the past five years; and the way in which the average cost of insuring male and female drivers aged under 25 years varies between Ireland and other EU countries. [15167/02]

The pricing and underwriting of insurance is a matter for individual insurance companies. As EU law prevents me from intervening directly in the matter, I am not in a position to supply the Deputy with information on indices of insurance costs. The Central Statistics Office publishes monthly indices of insurance costs for a number of classes. My Department's annual insurance report contains information on aggregate insurance premiums paid to insurance companies in respect of various classes of business. With reference to motor insurance, the recently published MIAB report contains an analysis of a wide range of raw data obtained from insurance companies by the MIAB. The report makes clear, however, that valid comparisons cannot be made, for a variety of reasons, between Ireland and other EU member states.