Thursday, 28 March 2019

Questions (67)

Michael McGrath

Question:

67. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of insurance companies that are prudentially regulated in the UK or Gibraltar but operating here under freedom of service; the number of customers of those companies that will be required to find new insurance companies upon renewal; if the Central Bank expects all such companies to move to be prudentially regulated here and or the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14689/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

At the outset, it is important to note that while as Minister for Finance, I am responsible for the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation, my Department does not collect the type of information being sought by the Deputy. The day to day supervision of insurance undertakings is a matter for the Central Bank of Ireland, and so I have consulted with it in respect of the information sought.

In this regard, I am advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that there are currently 139 UK and 26 Gibraltar authorised insurance undertakings with freedom of service notifications into Ireland. However, they note that not all undertakings with passporting notifications write business in Ireland. In this regard, they advise that 64 UK insurance undertakings and 17 Gibraltar insurance undertakings currently have Irish policyholders. Of these 81 undertakings, 12 undertakings to date, have not established a presence and sought authorisation in Ireland or another EU country. I do not have information on the number of policyholders in those undertakings.

With regard to the Central Bank’s expectations, I am informed that the Central Bank has engaged with insurers and brokers on Brexit, and that it has instructed them to take appropriate contingency measures to ensure the continuity of services for cross-border insurance policies between the UK and other Member States of the EU; inform existing and new customers and beneficiaries of the implications of these contingency measures and provide customers with clear information on the contingency measures taken or planned and how they might affect policies. I understand also that the Central Bank is also working closely with UK and European regulators to exchange information about firms’ plans and actions needed to address any consumer protection concerns.

Finally, the Deputy will be aware that my Department and the Central Bank are working closely to protect customers of insurance products in event of a “no deal” Brexit. In that regard, provisions in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 allow for a temporary run-off regime, which will allow certain UK and Gibraltar insurers and brokers to continue to service existing insurance contracts with Irish policyholders in the event of a “no deal’’ Brexit.