Thursday 19 September 2019

Insurers' refusal to show previous year's premiums 'a joke', says TD

Simple information being withheld from consumers, McGrath claims

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman. Photo: Collins
Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil finance spokesman. Photo: Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Insurance companies have refused to automatically provide consumers with details of their premium from the previous year as part of the renewal process.

Despite more than two years of talks, the Government will now have to legislate for what has been described as "the most basic reform".

The revelation came as TDs hit out at insurers for pushing up premiums, particularly on small businesses.

Fianna Fáil's finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said it was "a joke" that motorists, homeowners and businesses were not shown the price change on their renewal notices.

"I got my car insurance quote recently and it did not tell me what I paid last year, and I had to contact the insurance company to check. That is a joke," he said.

"We are talking about data and transparency, yet simple information continues to be withheld from consumers that would allow them to make more informed and better decisions. It is not good enough."

He demanded that Minister of State Michael D'Arcy "call out" the companies that would not agree to do so on a non-legislative basis.

Mr D'Arcy said efforts had been made to establish a voluntary guideline for firms, but it was not possible to do so.

"I thought it would be particularly easy for somebody to be able to see last year's quote three or four lines above this year's quote," he said.

The Irish Independent understands that Government officials were in discussions with Insurance Ireland, which represents the main insurers here.

However, since not all companies fall under its remit, it was not possible to set up a voluntary code that would apply industry-wide.

Mr McGrath described the situation as "pathetic", saying he felt sorry for the minister having to deal with insurance companies.

Meanwhile, former tánaiste Joan Burton told the same debate that more action needed to be taken to deal with fraudulent insurance claims.

"Has any action been taken? It really is affecting every stream of Irish life in a destructive way," she said.

"Children will not be able to run in school playgrounds, or play in play centres. Water parks are being charged massive increases in premiums."

Irish Independent

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