Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2011: Committee and Remaining Stages

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.
Government amendment No. 1:
In page 8, to delete lines 49 to 54 and in page 9, to delete lines 1 to 21 and substitute the following:
3B.—(1) Where an insolvent insurer authorised in another Member State in respect of which a person has been appointed who performs, in the other Member State concerned, the functions that a liquidator would perform in the State if the insolvent insurer authorised in another Member State were an insurer, and there is an amount payable to one or more persons under section 3, then--
(a) the Accountant may, from time to time but not more frequently than once in every 6 month period, apply to the High Court for approvals under that section in respect of those persons, and
(b) the amount of the reasonable and proper costs and expenses of the application to the High Court under that section shall be paid out of the Fund.
(2) Where an amount is paid out of the Fund under section 3 to the Accountant in respect of a sum due under a policy issued by the insurer authorised in another Member State—
(a) the Accountant shall pay the amount in respect of the sum due to the person in respect of whom it is due, and
(b) the Accountant shall, as respects the amounts paid out of the Fund, be a creditor of the insurer authorised in another Member State.”.

It is proposed to amend sections 3B(1) and 3B(2). This amendment provides that where the insurer concerned is in an equivalent of liquidation in another member state, the accountant of the insurance compensation fund, who manages the fund on behalf of the High Court, can apply on behalf of the persons concerned for payment to be made once in every six months. The limitation on the frequency of applications is included to ensure that excessive legal costs are not imposed on the fund and to enable claims to be made in respect of a number of policy holders at a time rather than in respect of each policyholder individually.

Senators will note the inclusion of paragraph (b) in subsection (2) of the amended text. This is a technical amendment. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure the accountant of the High Court receives a payment from the fund for the cost of any application to the insurance compensation fund that he or she makes to the High Court on behalf of policy holders of insurance companies authorised outside the State, whether the application is successful. The Bill, as drafted, allows for payments of costs only when the application has been successful.

Subsection (2), as amended, provides that where an amount is paid out of the fund under subsection (3), the accountant will pay over the amount due to the person concerned, and the fund and the accountant will be a creditor of the insurance company concerned in respect of the amount paid over. I commend this technical amendment to the House.

I will not comment on the substance of the amendment because, given the time allowed, I have not had time to read it, but I accept the Minister's explanation. Nevertheless, when we are rushing legislation through the House like this and there is an amendment several days after legislation was published, it makes one wonder whether there is anything else there, although I hope not. We should not rush these things. My colleagues in the Dáil may have further amendments to table to the legislation.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 5 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Title be the Title to the Bill."

I acknowledge the Oireachtas Library and Research Service which produced a brief on the Bill in a short time. Its work is important. It amplifies the point that introducing legislation quickly puts pressure on it, too.

I thank all Senators who contributed to the debate on the Bill and all those who attended. I thank them for facilitating the passage of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment, received for final consideration and passed.

When is it proposed to sit again?

On Tuesday, 20 September at 2.30 p.m.

Sitting suspended at 2.55 p.m. and resumed at 3.30 p.m.