As the Deputy is aware, the Cost of Insurance Working Group undertook an examination of the factors contributing to the cost of insurance in order to identify what short, medium and long-term measures could be introduced to help reduce the cost of insurance for consumers and businesses.
The initial focus of the Working Group was the issue of rising motor insurance premiums and the Report on the Cost of Motor Insurance was published in January 2017, containing 33 recommendations with 71 associated actions.
In its second phase, the Working Group examined the cost of business insurance, in particular employer liability insurance and public liability insurance. This work culminated in the publication in January 2018 of the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance, with 15 recommendations and 29 associated actions to be carried out.
Both of the primary Reports contain an Action Plan, setting out the agreed timelines for implementation, and also a commitment that the Working Group will prepare quarterly updates on its progress. The Sixth Quarterly Update published in August shows that 58 of the 71 deadlines placed on actions across the two reports to date have been completed. It is envisaged that the next quarterly Progress Update will be completed by the end of October and will be ready for publication on the Department of Finance website shortly after. A particular focus will be placed upon the 7 actions across the two Reports with Q3 2018 deadlines, including the actions from the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance .
Over the next 6 months, the key recommendations addressed to my Department, which I am hopeful will be implemented are the establishment of the National Claims Information Database, subject to approval by the Oireachtas and the production of further key information reports on motor insurance claims and employer and public liability insurance claims. In addition, I will review the outcome of the CSO feasibility study on collecting price information on the cost of insurance to business.
With regard to the wider recommendations in both reports, I am of course working with my colleagues in Government, in particular the Minister’s for Justice and Equality, to whom a significant proportion of the recommendations in both reports are addressed to. In this regard, it is proposed to use the National Claims Information Database legislation to make important changes to sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.
Another, key area where I hope significant progress will be made is on the implementation of the recommendations of the recently published second report of the Personal Injuries Commission report - in particular the recommendation that this country follows the example of judicial intervention which has occurred in Northern Ireland and in the UK, namely the introduction of Judicial Guidelines for judges in relation to damages for personal injury claims.
Finally, the Deputy should note that the implementation of the Cost of Insurance Working Group’s recommendations remain a priority for this Government. In that context, I, and Minister of State D’Arcy, will continue to work closely with colleagues in Government, as well as other stakeholders, to ensure that the Working Group’s recommendations are implemented in a satisfactory manner and I remain hopeful that there will be a further positive impact on pricing over the next 12 months or so over and above the 21.5% fall which has taken place since July 2016.