I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy D'Arcy, back to the House.
Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages
I thank Senators for the constructive approach they have taken to considering this Bill. A number of relevant issues were raised in the House during the discussion of the Bill. I note that there is broad support for the essential purpose of the Bill which is to enhance transparency and facilitate the use of data sharing and collection to the level we see in other jurisdictions. The national claims information database is the cornerstone of this data transparency agenda. Today's approval will put us in a position to have the Bill enacted by the end of the year. It is my intention that the relevant provisions of the Bill be commenced early in 2019. This commencement process is necessary in order for the Central Bank to make its own regulations, which will be required for it to collect the relevant information for the database from insurers. In that regard, it should be noted that the Central Bank has laid the groundwork for the collection of these data by carrying out a parallel technical supervision specification exercise with insurers to ensure the database can be in operation quickly following the enactment of the legislation. The Central Bank has indicated that, subject to the timeframes for enactment and commencement of the Bill, it plans to collect the relevant data from insurance undertakings in the first half of 2019 and publish the first report based on the collected data in the second half.
The reforms we have been implementing since January 2017 are already showing positive results. The cost of motor insurance, as measured monthly by the Central Statistics Office, CSO, has fallen 22.7% since premiums peaked in July 2016. While I appreciate this figure is a broad average, we must recognise that the figures showing large increases in premiums, which many commentators referenced regularly, were also produced by the CSO. Clearly, therefore, the overall trend is downward, which is welcome. I am hopeful the continuing implementation of the recommendations of the working group will have a further positive impact on pricing in the next 12 months or so.
I met the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, since I last spoke to the Seanad. The matter regarding the funding of an insurance section in An Garda Síochána is now concluded. The Commissioner will not consider the principle of An Garda Síochána being funded by any source other than the Exchequer.