Insurance companies have been called on to treat consumers fairly after it emerged that people are being turned down for mortgage protection cover if they have had Covid-19.
This is putting their home-purchase plans at risk.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Government was engaging with the industry on the issue.
It comes as a number of people have contacted the Irish Independent saying they can’t get mortgage protection insurance if they have or had the virus.
A number of these are frontline workers, including nurses.
Difficulties are also being experienced getting life and critical illness cover, as well as mortgage-protection insurance.
It affects those suffering from Covid or who had it in the past, and frontline workers who have underlying conditions and are seen as vulnerable to the virus.
Mr Donohoe told Independent TD Marian Harkin: “I am aware of reports of some customers experiencing issues in obtaining mortgage protection cover as a result of having higher-risk conditions, particularly in the context of Covid-19.”
He said: “In the context of Covid-19, we expect insurance firms to treat their customers fairly, honestly, and in accordance with the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code”.
His officials have contacted representative body Insurance Ireland on the issue.
One person who contacted this publication said the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus meant people with an underlying condition, not related to the virus, were finding it impossible to get cover.
Normally, people with an underlying condition can get cover, but would have to pay a loading, or higher premium due to a factor increasing the risk involved.
But the reader said: “If your occupation involves working on the front line, they [insurers] will tell you, ‘sorry, due to Covid regulations we are not insuring anybody that would have a 250pc loading’.
“It doesn’t matter how long your condition is under control. So people are unable to draw down a mortgage because they can’t get insurance.”
Ms Harkin said that in a case she had dealt with, a person with a permanent, pensionable job who was relocating from Dublin to the west of the country, but was unable to get mortgage protection for the mortgage on her new home because she has an underlying condition.
“This is unacceptable – insurance companies are using Covid-19 as an excuse not to provide cover,” Ms Harkin said.
John Geraghty of LABrokers said people with existing policies who got Covid would be covered. But insurers are deferring initiating new cover for those suffering from Covid-19 for up to six months.
He said around 90pc of applications were accepted at the price quoted. Another 6pc to 8pc may have an increase in the price offered. This includes other medical factors not related to Covid.
Around 2pc of applications get a refusal to offer cover.
Insurance Ireland insisted most people would be able to get cover. But it admitted there were a small number of individual cases where a final decision on applications was being postponed for a period where applicants had a Covid-19-related health condition.
“Such policies are assessed on a case-by-case basis and that underlying health conditions are taken into account by the underwriters, as was the case pre-Covid-19.”
Insurance Ireland said there were waiver conditions in the Consumer Credit Act allowing lenders to issue a mortgage without protection cover being in place in certain situations. This was at the lender’s discretion.