For Written Answer on : 10/10/2023
Question Number(s): 140 Question Reference(s): 44129/23
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Finance to provide an update on the work of ‘The Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market’ in engaging with current insurance market operators and attracting new entrants into the sector; his further plans for the work of this office; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Insurance reform is a key priority for this Government and is being delivered via the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. The latest Implementation Report demonstrates that significant progress has been made, with the vast bulk of the actions contained in the Action Plan now either delivered or initiated. The importance that Government places on the Action Plan is evidenced by the fact that implementation is overseen by a Cabinet Sub-Group on insurance reform, chaired by the Tánaiste.
In addition, the establishment of the Office to Promote Competition in the Insurance Market is a Programme for Government commitment. Chaired by Minister Carroll MacNeill, its aims are to help expand the risk appetite of existing insurers and explore opportunities for new market entrants. Since its establishment, the Office has met with a range of stakeholders, including insurance companies and representative organisations. It is also working closely with IDA Ireland to help leverage the ongoing insurance reforms with the objective of targeting new entrants to the Irish market. I am confident that the IDA now has a positive message to communicate, and number of new insurance providers have either established in Ireland or are in the process of doing so. There are also indications that domestic incumbents are expanding their product lines across a diverse range of areas such as SME business, motor, professional indemnity and renewables. This is a clear sign that the Government reform agenda is working.
In order to maintain this momentum, Minister Carroll MacNeill will shortly be meeting with the CEOs of the major insurance companies in the State in order to impress upon them the necessity of passing on savings from the new insurance environment to customers, in the form of reduced premiums. She has also recently had a series of engagements with insurance stakeholders in London, including Lloyds, where she emphasised the positive impact of the Government reform agenda and highlighted the opportunities now available for insurers to enter the Irish market. The Minister of State will update the Cabinet Sub Group on the activity of the Competition Office at the next Cabinet Sub Group meeting later this quarter.
In conclusion, I wish to assure the Deputy of my intention to continue to work with my Government colleagues to ensure that the implementation of the Action Plan will continue to bring benefits in terms of affordability and availability of insurance for all consumers.