Senator Mark Daly leading off in the Order of Business in the Seanad on the 6th of October 2016
“The issue of insurance has arisen again. The State Claims Agency has exposed the insurance companies and the lies they have been telling us about the cost of claims and the level of compensation increasing, as a result of which they are charging more. Since the beginning of year, the cost of insurance has increased by 28%. In the past 12 months it has increased by 34% and since 2014 by 60%. In 2014, according to the records we have available, the amount paid out in compensation to claimants decreased by 36%. We have price gouging by the insurance companies which are profiteering in hiking up insurance premiums. People are going out of business as a result. It is highly unacceptable that the insurance companies seem to be acting as a collective in pushing up premiums. There have also been cases of insurance companies suspending and eliminating life cover or cover for critical illnesses. Critical illness cover refers to five illnesses, including cancer. In one case highlighted yesterday people who had been paying premiums for critical illness cover for ten years were told by a company that cover was being discontinued from November and that they should contact other companies. This is another form of price gouging and profiteering by the insurance industry. People who need cover for peace of mind are having it withdrawn by insurance companies.
We also have the sudden disappearance from the market of insurance companies established in other jurisdictions, for example, Setanta Insurance, which disappeared overnight, leaving 14,000 people without insurance and policyholders left to pick up the tab.
Banking is another financial sector which is subject to regulation and appears to be doing its own thing and profiteering. Ultimately, citizens are losing out and businesses are being affected. People are driving without insurance. By law, the 2.2 million drivers in the State must have insurance. We force them to have it and they should have it, but we are not giving them the protection they require. The Leader has organised debates on this issue before. The State Claims Agency has exposed the fact that insurance companies are not paying out nearly as much as they claim to be. The Government must take action on this issue.”