I again raise the issue of the collapse of Setanta Insurance, which occurred in April 2014, more than four and a half years ago. Unfortunately, there are still many outstanding claims. Legitimate claims have been made and agreed but the amounts have not yet been settled because of the collapse of the company, the fact it went into liquidation and the fact that, for a long period, there was a cap of 65% on what could be paid by the insurance compensation fund. It has taken a lot of work, involving many parties, to try to secure progress on this issue. In January of this year, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, gave a commitment that 100% of the third-party claims would be met, that is, the full cost of the claims, not the 65%. The necessary legislation to give effect to this, the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018, was completed before the summer recess and signed into law in July.
We have a situation where, as I understand it, there are still more than 1,500 outstanding claims which have not been fully met. In some cases, there is not yet an agreed settlement figure, which is why they have not been paid.
In other cases, 65% of the cost of the claim has been met by the Insurance Compensation Fund, but the claimant is still awaiting payment of the remaining 35%. There are further cases in which the full 100% continues to be owed, even though the claim amount has been agreed between the relevant parties. There will be a shortfall at the end of this process which ultimately will be met from the additional levy set out in the legislation and the new motor insurance compensation fund that is being in place.
I emphasise the human toll in this saga. I have got to know many of the people caught up in the collapse of Setanta Insurance. It has to be borne in mind that some of the claims which remain outstanding relate to accidents that occurred many years before the collapse of the company in 2014. In some cases, they occurred in 2009 and 2010. We are approaching 2019 and they are still waiting for their money. They are not scam or fraudulent claims; rather, they are legitimate claims made by people who have incurred an injury and worse. In one case, tragically, there were fatalities.
This issue must be prioritised. We need the next tranche of payments to be made without further delay. In that regard, I understand an application must be made to the High Court for approval of the next tranche of payments to be issued to those directly affected. It has been a nightmare for those caught up in the collapse of Setanta Insurance. They are people who, in the case of policyholders, took out a legitimate insurance policy in the State with a company regulated principally in Malta but which was regulated here for conduct of business purposes. In some cases, lives have been put on hold for many years. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel and that the outstanding claims, in respect of which a settlement has been agreed, can be fully paid without further delay.
What people want to know as a result of my raising of the issue today is the date on which the process will be brought to a conclusion. We have had many promises and commitments from the Government. The Fianna Fáil Party is maintaining the pressure to get the issue over the line to bring an end to this nightmare for the people affected.