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Insurers demand talks with minister over his accusations of 'sharp practice'

  

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Minister of State Michael D’Arcy. Photo: Damien Eagers

Minister of State Michael D’Arcy. Photo: Damien Eagers

Damien Eagers / INM

Minister of State Michael D’Arcy. Photo: Damien Eagers

Representatives of the insurance sector have demanded a meeting with Minister of State Michael D'Arcy after he accused companies of "sharp practice" in the wake of recent weather events.

The minister says an internal report at the Department of Finance found that a significant number of companies short-changed victims of Storm Emma and Storm Ophelia.

He wants to introduce a voluntary code of practice as part of a bid to stamp out cash payments or partial payments.

The concern centres on findings that insurers took advantage of the crisis situation some people found themselves in after the heavy snow last March and freak winds in October 2017.

According to Mr D'Arcy, householders and businesses were offered cash payments for less than their property was worth.

"It's easier, it's quicker, it's cleaner but it's still not an offer of what you insured," Mr D'Arcy told the Irish Independent.

On foot of the comments, Insurance Ireland, which represents the majority of domestic insurers in the market, has now sought a meeting with the minister.

A spokesman said Mr D'Arcy's assessment did "not tally with our experience or that of our members".

"Insurers processed almost 12,000 claims, costing approximately €85m, arising from Storms Ophelia and Emma to help policyholders recover from both events.

"We have sought a meeting with the minister to reconcile his position with our sector's experience during these events," he said.

Mr D'Arcy said insurers were "no white knights" when it came to their dealings with consumers.

Irish Independent