Up to 3,000 insurance jobs could be created in push for Irish innovation hub
As many as 3,000 jobs could be created in the insurance sector over the next five years, a new report has predicted.
The study, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, also insists that Ireland can become a global centre for insurance innovation by collaborating with the IT sector and creating centres of excellence.
The report, which was commissioned by Insurance Ireland, reckons that 1,750 of the 3,000 jobs it's projecting could be created if Ireland gains traction as a centre for insurance-related innovation, with consequent wins of service centres and centres of excellence.
There are currently 27,000 people working in the insurance sector in Ireland.
The report has also predicted that improving provision for consumers could lead to 500 new jobs over a five-year period. It estimates that pensions initiatives could increase pensions coverage in the country from 50pc to 80pc, while healthcare insurance reform could bring a 10pc increase in the number of consumers covered, while €1bn of investment in Irish infrastructural assets could be achieved.
Kevin Thompson, pictured right. the chief executive of Insurance Ireland, said the addition of 3,000 jobs over the next five years was a "very realistic target".
"We now have a strategic framework which allows us to collaborate more effectively with our key stakeholders with consequent benefits for both the sector and the economy," he said.
He pointed out that the insurance sector remained "inextricably linked" to key aspects of government policy, particularly in healthcare and pensions.
The report suggests that a new charter be established for Irish consumers which would focus on "urgent reform" of the pensions and private health insurance regimes.
PwC said that the operation of private health insurance should be reviewed, "with the needs of the consumer prioritised".
"Ultimately, the aim must be to create a sustainable business model for private healthcare provision in Ireland in order to provide a mechanism to maximise private provision and reduce the burden on the State," it suggested.
The report also highlighted the financial contribution made by the insurance sector to the economy. It pointed out that insurance companies here paid an estimated €1.6bn in tax in 2012, with €200m of that generated from corporation tax. The total net tax receipts in 2012 were €36bn.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has welcomed the new report. He said it sends out a "clear message" that the Irish insurance industry is ready to contribute to "creating the appropriate economic and investment finance conditions that will put Ireland to the forefront as a desirable location both for foreign and home-grown enterprises".