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Insurance Industry.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 6 December 2005

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Ceisteanna (250)

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

298 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way in which insurance costs here compare with those in other European jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38226/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

The National Competitiveness Council, NCC, in its Annual Competitiveness Report 2005, found that of the 16 countries benchmarked, Irish expenditure on non-life insurance was the fourth highest. However, the NCC also found that the rate of growth in the cost of insurance has slowed down substantially in recent years. This can be attributed to the series of initiatives the Government has pushed through to reform the insurance sector. The action taken by Government to ensure healthy competition in the insurance sector had already seen benefits for consumers.

Sub-indices calculated from the all-items consumer price index at mid-October 2005 show that since the insurance reform programme began in October 2002, there has been a reduction of 23% in car insurance. The Personal Injuries Assessment Board, PIAB, which was one of the key initiatives of the Government's insurance reform programme, published its first annual report on 13 of September 2005. This shows that PIAB assessments to date have been delivered approximately three times faster and at a delivery charge four times cheaper than under the litigation system. As well as being a major benefit to victims of accidents this is a significant reduction in the cost to insurance companies for the delivery of compensation and hence facilitates reductions in insurance premia.

Supervision of insurance undertakings is the responsibility of the Financial Regulator, formerly known as the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. The Financial Regulator has a wide regulatory remit covering consumer protection and prudential supervision of practically all of the financial services industry, including insurance, and the services provided by it. The Financial Regulator comes under the aegis of my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

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