Central Bank told to provide more data on insurers

Central Bank

Charlie Weston

Insurance policyholders are being denied access to information needed to hold insurers to account, a leading business body has claimed.

Employers' body Isme said the refusal of the Central Bank to again publish the 'Blue Book' of statistics on claims, premiums and insurers' costs meant the regulator was not fulfilling its consumer protection mandate.

Last month the Central Bank turned down an Isme request to reinstate the Blue Book, which provided summary statistics on insurance companies until 2015.

The Central Bank argues that the adoption of Solvency II rules prevents it from updating the Blue Book, and instead it produces individual Solvency and financial condition reports for each of the 187 regulated insurers in the market.

Isme boss Neill McDonnell acknowledged that the Solvency II regulations are different, but said there is nothing to prevent the Central Bank from updating the Blue Book.

"It is one of the most valuable publications of the Central Bank, and has been vital for commentators such as Dorothea Dowling in analysing the financial activities of Irish insurers."

If the Central Bank is to fulfil its consumer protection mandate, it must reinstate the Blue Book immediately, Mr McDonnell said.

The Central Bank denied it was failing to fulfil its consumer protection role, and said the Solvency II publications contains all the information that was in the Blue Book.