Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said Minister Michael D’Arcy must act to bring transparency on insurance premiums for small business. He said those campaigning for a fair insurance system are deeply frustrated at the lack of progress and at an actual reduction in transparency in insurance pricing. He cited insurers’ refusal to agree to notify insurance holders of claims against them as an example of this resistance to transparency from insurers.
Deputy Doherty said:
“I note the Minister today called the insurers ‘unhelpful’ in how they provide data. This is a mild description given the attitude of insurers. This is summed up best by their refusal to put in place a protocol to notify insurance holders when there is a claim against them. The Minister is now being forced to amend my Consumer Insurance Contracts Bill to achieve this. I have been in discussion with Minister D’Arcy and am happy to accept the amendments but had hoped that a more urgent approach would have been adopted.
“He has the power to work with the Central Bank to restore transparency by reintroducing the ‘Blue Book’ and Private Motor Insurance Statistics. That would be a helpful step.
“Two and half years ago, on my request, the Finance Committee published a report on insurance which focused in relentlessly on transparency as the key to tackling this crisis. Yet, two and a half years on, many small businesses still facing these massive increases are telling us that there is now less transparency, not more.
“Last week’s National Competiveness Council report on the Costs of Doing Business showed how inadequate the State’s knowledge of this problem is when it stated: ‘The Council is also constrained in terms of the availability of metrics and their impact on enterprises of different sizes and sectors, and across several important areas such as …. commercial insurance..’
“The complete lack of transparency favours only one group of people- insurers. As long as transparency is delayed, they will have an excuse to act irresponsibly and unaccountably.”