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Insurance Industry

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 May 2022

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Questions (165)

Matt Carthy


165. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Finance his proposals to address the continuing high cost of insurance cover in the childcare sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26256/22]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Firstly, it is important to point out that neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can direct the pricing or provision of insurance products. This is a commercial matter for individual companies to assess on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with their own calculation of various factors, including risk. This position is reinforced by the EU Single Market framework for insurance (the Solvency II Directive) which expressly prohibits Member States from any such intervention.

However, this Government acknowledges the strong concerns felt by many groups, including the childcare sector, regarding the cost and availability of insurance. While recognising that there is no single legislative or policy fix to the issues faced by some businesses, this Government has nonetheless moved to address them through the implementation of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. This sets out 66 actions to bring down costs for consumers and business; introduce more competition into the market; prevent fraud and reduces the burden that insurance costs can have on business, community and voluntary organisations. As the Deputy may be aware, the Government published the Second Action Plan Implementation Report in March 2022, which showed that 80 per cent of the actions were being delivered. Our focus has now shifted towards delivering the remaining aspects of the Action Plan, most notably rebalancing the duty of care. Proposals for this important reform were approved by Cabinet in recent days.

My officials have also been working with the IDA to leverage the achievements of the reform agenda with overseas insurers, in order to help persuade them to enter the insurance market. The IDA has commenced a targeted and multi-phased engagement process with several underwriters with work actively underway on this initiative.

I believe this Government has taken the right approach in addressing the issue of insurance in Ireland, and I am pleased to report that a leading international insurer has expanded its risk portfolio into the childcare/activity sector in recent weeks. This is a welcome development, and may prompt other firms to do the same. It is also proof that the insurance industry is responding positively to the Action Plan and the practical progress it is making.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to assure the Deputy that securing a more sustainable and competitive market through deepening and widening the supply of insurance in Ireland remains a key policy priority for this Government.  In this regard, it is my intention to work with my colleagues to ensure that implementation of the Action Plan can have a positive impact on the affordability and availability of insurance across all sectors in the economy, including the childcare sector.